Friday, July 30, 2010

Five Simple Steps To Losing Your Belly Fat Fast

How do you lose weight fast?

A real simple tip is and we've all been taught it, from the time we were kids from our parents, is increase our vegetable intake, more specifically your non-starchy vegetable intake. It's not to hard to choose a vegetable that's non-starchy.

The main reason is, because you want to be able to eat something that is not caloricly dense but nutrient dense and non-starchy vegetables. They're a great source of fiber which is very important for helping you feel fuller longer and not encouraging you to eat 30 minutes later. You're going to be full for a long time. The fiber takes longer to digest, so the body has to work harder and you keep your insulin levels in check which is big for preventing fat storage.

What is insulin which I mentioned above?

When you eat you get sugar in your blood and your body has to get that sugar out of the blood and either use it as energy or store it for use at a later time. Insulin does that. When you ingest food and you get these sugars into your blood, your insulin increases and gets those sugars, pull them out of your blood and either, like I said, burn them for energy or store them to be used at a later time. When all of your carbohydrate glycogen levels are full, then the only other alternative is to be stored as fat. Insulin tends to promote fat storage because most peoples glycogen/carbohydrate levels are usually pretty full, so the alternative is fat storage.

You want to keep that insulin response low, which is one of the main goals.

Now on to Tip number 2 which is eating protein at every meal. We hear so much about protein; again, most guys are probably meat and potatoes guys. Why is it so important - how do we make the transformation to just eating fatty protein sources to types of proteins that you should be eating to help lose that gut.

It should be easy to get protein into your diet since most men are meat and potato type of men, but you want to control the type of protein you eat. A fried chicken breast, or 18 chicken wings from Hooters, probably isn't going to be the best source. Yes, its protein, but you are also going to pack in a lot of extra calories that you really don't need if you're trying to lose your gut. So, one of the things you want to do is to look for those lean protein sources. Skinless chicken breasts, lean beef and steaks, fish grilled not fried. Eggs are another good source.

Dairy is also another good source. If you like cottage cheese or yogurts or things like that, you can get in your lean protein that way as well.

Tip number 3 Eat whole grain carbohydrates.

So now, what is a whole grain carb? What's a good carb? What's a bad carb? When am I supposed to be eating some of these carbs?

A whole grain carb would be carbohydrates that are considered a good source of fiber. Staying away from the - you've heard the thing of no white breads and things like that and white rice, and to a point there's validity to why people say that. I don't know that they always know why they are saying it, but the reason that they should try to limit those is because those are usually made with processed carbohydrates and very little fiber content. Whole grain carbs will say 100% whole grain. Wheat bread is just white bread that hasn't been bleached. So you need to look for the whole grain or the whole oats/grain wording in it to find out, and look at the fiber source. Most of them should have at least 2 grams of fiber per serving, if not 3 to be considered a good fiber source. So, that will help you get you your answer as well with that.

Alright, rapid weight loss diet tip number 4. Eat more healthy fats. Now, this is very confusing for people, I'm sure. Healthy fats, unhealthy fats, Trans fats, why is this going to be such a big deal when it comes to losing weight fast?

Your healthy fats is what's usually called essential fatty acids, and what that means is that it's fatty acids and fats that we can not produce in the body on our own, so we have to get them through diet. Why essential fatty acids are so important is because there's hundreds and hundreds of studies that are showing that it helps with numerous diseases.

It helps prevent certain diseases such as heart disease and cancer. The studies are actually now showing that it may actually increase your metabolism by as much as 400 calories a day and that's the big one when it comes to just specific weight loss.

If you want to just throw out all the numerous health benefits of why essential fatty acids are good and just go off of the fact for weight loss and fat loss, it actually helps increase your metabolism and there's also some studies showing that it may actually block what they tend to call pre-fat cells from turning into permanent fat cells. So, again, that's another huge step in regards to weight loss and trying to prevent weight gain. And, essential fatty acids primarily are, what you'll also hear or read, as Omega 3 fats.

You'll see that fish is an excellent source of Omega 3 fats. Use olive oil because of the essential fatty acids and the Omega 3s. Walnuts and Almonds are another good source and they're actually a good protein source, they contain good fiber, and they contain healthy fat.

So, if you want a healthy snack, throw some almonds in a bag and take them with you to work, keep them at your desk. They're a great snack to help you feel full; help boost that metabolism and it's actually a really good food for you in many ways. You're getting your fiber, you're getting your protein, you're getting your healthy fat, you're getting three of the five tips I'm giving you today just in one food, with that.

How to lose belly fat tip number 5.

Eat frequent meals. I'm sure you've heard it before eat smaller meals throughout the day. You're probably having a muffin and coffee for breakfast, having a big lunch, maybe not eating all afternoon, come home and eat a huge, huge dinner. How are you guys going to get 4-6 small meals a day?

You do have to do a little planning ahead, but if you use the previous four tips, you could cut up some vegetables ahead of time on a Sunday and just put them in bags so that you have them available to put into your lunch or as a snack. Protein choices you've got the yogurt, you could hard boil eggs, you could have string cheese as a snack. Almonds, as we talked about.

Doing those types of things and plan ahead to where you don't have to think the morning of, "Alright what am I going to eat for my snack today? What am I going to do for lunch? It's all already in the fridge. Plan on a Sunday for one hour and then all you have to do is pack your meal. Put it in individual bags, throw it in your cooler and put it in the refrigerator at work, so that it's available. That way, the less thinking you can take out of it, the better off you're going to be.

Every time you eat your metabolism increases to digest that food. Your body uses calories to digest calories? So, you want to keep that metabolism revved up every day.

What guy doesn't want to eat. The worst thing about trying to lose weight is you think you have to starve yourself and that's the exact opposite that you want to do if you're going to lose weight. You need to feed yourself and you need to feed yourself consistently because then the weight will come off. If you restrict eating and that metabolism plummets your body has to survive. It goes into a survival mode at that point and it's going to do everything possible to burn as little calories as possible because you don't feed it frequently enough.

Cut Fat, Lose Weight and Prevent Cancer

There's now yet another compelling reason to lose weight and cut consumption of unhealthy Omega-6 fats from vegetable sources. Research released from the Institute of Food Technologists indicates that as many as 1 in 3 cancer deaths could be prevented by reducing consumption of corn and vegetable oils and cutting calories.

It's important to understand that fat itself is not the enemy, as it's an essential nutrient required for normal cellular function. The problem arises when the balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats are disproportional in our diet.

Humans have evolved with a 1:1 ratio of the two fat sources, yet our modern diet is closer to 20:1 in favor of Omega-6 fats. This causes a hormonal imbalance in the body which leads to inflammation, weight gain and increased risk of heart attack and many cancers. Monitoring Omega fat intake is an important first step which will assist with weight loss efforts and lead to reduced risk from many diseases.

Evolution Controls Our Diet

More than 750,000 people die from cancer annually, and the results from this study indicate that a quarter million lives could be spared with a concerted effort to control calories and Omega-6 fat consumption. Our genes are the product of thousands of years of evolution during times when Omega-3 fat sources such as fish and many nuts and seeds were plentiful. Every cell in our body relies on the critical Omega-3 components, EPA and DHA for replication and cell wall construction.

It's only been during the past half century that Omega-6 fats from corn and vegetable sources have become an ever increasing part of our diet, and have now distorted the natural evolutionary ratio we require for optimal health. Omega-6 fats are very stable, allowing food to sit on store shelves for extended periods, and are present in virtually all processed foods.

Lower Omega-6 Fats by Cutting Processed and Fast Foods

Omega-6 fats are present in virtually every processed food on store shelves, with up to 90% of fat calories in our diet coming from this health endangering source. Take a two step approach to reduce Omega-6 calories and improve the ratio with Omega-3 fats.

Eliminate or drastically reduce foods which are packed with Omega-6 fats, including all commercially baked products, fast foods and vegetable based cooking oils. Be especially mindful to cut any foods listing hydrogenated trans fats, as these increase the risk of heart disease by 25%.

Increase Omega-3 Fat Sources to Lower Inflammation

Replace Omega-6 laden foods with Omega-3 healthy options. The best Omega-3 source is fish, as it provides the perfect balance of DHA and EPA, the two primary Omega-3 fats. Fish Oil supplements are a good choice for people who don't enjoy fish.

Nuts and seeds also have smaller amounts of Omega-3 fats, with walnuts, flax and chia seeds rising to the top of the list. It's important to remember that food from any fat source still contains 9 calories per gram, so be careful when substituting and track your daily calories with nutritional software.

Research is beginning to uncover the hidden dangers in the unnatural processed foods which make up a large portion of the Western diet. We are continually reminded that the foods we eat have a direct and immediate impact on our future health and body weight.

Monitor your food choices carefully, paying close attention to the Omega fat ratios and switch to a reduced calorie lifestyle. You'll enjoy the healthy benefits of dramatically lowered risk of cancer and many illnesses while you naturally maintain a healthy weight.

Read More Expert Advice on Diet, Health and Nutrition, and Download your Free Weight Loss EBook!

John Phillip is a Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your Weight Loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your Free 48 page copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.

Early Signs of Throat Cancer

Despite the bad odor that clings to the very notion of cancer because of its incurable nature, cancer can be treated in its initial stage. Throat cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and over 25,000 Americans are diagnosed with throat cancer every year. The root cause of cancer can be traced to excessive smoking and drinking. Certain pollutants also accelerate the growth of tumors on the larynx or pharynx. Some people are sensitive to certain pollutants and if these people work in places where the presence of the particular pollutant in the air is dominant, they expose themselves to the risk of contracting throat cancer.

Early Indications of Throat Cancer

There are certain signs that come to the surface in the early stages of throat cancer. These signs, if ignored, can spell disaster for the concerned person and it is therefore important to take these signs seriously and go to a doctor at the earliest.

Sore Throat

Sore throat is one of the most common problems that people around the world confront with every year. Sore throat can easily be cured in less than a week and under such circumstances you have nothing to worry about. However if the throat does not respond to medication and the soreness continues for an elongated period of time, it can be labeled as an early sign of throat cancer. Often people feel a lump in the throat that wouldn't fade away and if such a lump has been bothering someone for more than a week and a half, it is advisable to get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible.


Some people often suffer from sinus problems and it is hard to tell the difference between sinus in general and sinus as a sign of cancer but if an individual has been experiencing frequent headaches, neck pain and congestion repeatedly and the antibiotics seem to be as effective as iota, it is time for the concerned person to get in touch with a doctor.

Facial Paralysis

Some people experience facial paralysis or numbness in the face when throat cancer starts to build up. Severe neck pains and migraine attacks have also been branded as early symptoms of cancer. Physical changes on the neck and face are clearly visible in a person who has just stepped into the identity of a patient suffering with throat cancer.

Hoarse Voice and Other Signs

Hoarseness in the voice is a clear sign of laryngeal cancer. Early signs of throat cancer can be characterized by strained voice, raspy breathing and a hoarse voice. The harsh voice comes into picture as a result of tumor in the larynx. At times, changes in the voice are noticeable in an obvious way and under such circumstances the concerned person should push the panic button at once. Some other common symptoms include swelling in the eye, enlarged lymph, excessive cough and weight loss. In most cases of throat cancer, antibiotics and other medicines do not have any positive effect on these problems and these problems stay with the person for a long time. It is recommended to go to a doctor if these problems do not go away for more than a week and a half.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Knee Arthritis? Flexible Options Can Help Keep You Active

"The number of patients between the ages of 40 and 60 who are experiencing knee arthritis is growing, and unlike most older patients, this patient population presents a unique set of treatment challenges," noted lead author Brian Feeley, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery, University of California, San Francisco. "Understanding available options and tailoring treatments to each patient's needs and desires is the key to successful outcomes."

The review examined both surgical and non-surgical treatments available for younger patients with knee arthritis, to determine the best course of action for patients who want to continue to participate in demanding sports. Unlike elderly patients, where pain reduction and basic mobility are the two primary goals, Dr. Feeley noted younger, more active patients require more flexible treatment programs to allow them to remain as active as they would like.

"There is an increasing trend in the United States of people who want to stay active in sports and recreational activities after the age of 40. These patients are not content with being told to stop what they love doing," added Dr. Feeley. "As a result, orthopaedic surgeons and other physicians need to come up with different treatment strategies including non-operative treatments or even cartilage restoration procedures, to address pain and functionality, and to help keep patients as active as possible."

While some patients may eventually require surgery, Dr. Feeley said in most cases, non-operative management such as bracing, viscosupplementation (injection of hyaluronic acid), activity modification or anti-inflammatory medication might be used initially, to see if the symptoms resolve or if there is enough improvement to make surgery unnecessary.

"In a vast majority of cases, the onset of arthritis is a slow, degenerative process and therefore there is rarely a need to rush to surgery," he added. "Depending on the symptoms and activity level, many patients can be managed well with non-operative treatment strategies, whereas others truly benefit from surgical procedures. For each patient, it is important to tailor treatment to their symptoms and activity level, and to look for a healthcare provider who is willing to work with them over time to keep their knee as healthy as possible."

Although alternative treatments like acupuncture, glucosamine and chondroitin may be incorporated into an overall treatment plan, Dr. Feeley noted that currently there is no strong clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of these alternative-types of treatment.

For patients suffering with arthritis of the knee, Dr. Feeley recommends the following approach to help patients remain active:

  1. Take control of your situation -- understand the disease process and learn about different treatment options.
  2. Work with your physician to come up with both short-term and long-term courses of treatment to help manage your symptoms early while maintaining the health of your knee and body for as long as possible.
  3. Be flexible with your activities and do not put the exact same stresses on the knee everyday. In some cases, mild activity modification such as switching to more biking or swimming and less running may make a huge difference in the number and severity of symptoms. Trying new activities also can help keep morale high.
  4. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your physician. Look for a doctor who can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment option, and who is willing to work with you to tailor a treatment strategy to your individual needs.

"Even when surgery is necessary, proper follow-up treatment and physical therapy tailored to the patient's needs can go along way toward keeping that patient active and satisfied in the long-term," stated Dr. Feeley.

What is lazy eye?

Lazy eye, which is also called ablmopiya, is a kind of vision problem that has poor or indistinct vision in one eye or in both eyes. Sometimes people may also call strabismus especially exotropi “lazy eye” by mistake. It is estimated that about 1 – 5% of the population is affected by lasy eye, mostly children. The eye disease’s name “Lazy eye” is inaccurate, because it is not caused by the laziness of the eye or the patient with the condition. Lazy eye isamblyopia, isamblyopia,caused by no transmission or poor transmission of the visual image to the brain. In other words, it is a problem in the visual system of brain but not an organic problem in the eye. Detecting the condition in early childhood increases the chance of successful treatment. The maximum critical period of detecting lazy eye is from birth to two years old. Since one of the eyes is usually normal, many people with lazy eye can not aware they have the eye problem until examined at older ages.

Treatment of lazy eye consists of correcting the optical deficit and encouraging use of the poor eye, usually by patching the good eye. Patient should also be wary of over-patching the good eye when treating for amblyopia, avoiding reverse amblyopia in the other eye. Another simple treatment carried out in University of Southern California involved only the use of basic computer software and vision training exercises showed that 28 of 30 patients with lazy eye can develop 20/20 vision.

Hair Loss Prevention Products-- What Kind Of Hair Loss Do You Have?

Hairloss is definitely a horrible disease that may affect about seventy percent within the total population 40 % males and thirty % females are struck with this disease. There are several forms of hair loss that can cause distress from the less severe and most treatable: like drastic fat loss, can cause hair loss. Hormonal fluctuations in the body like prednisone, in effect trigger post pregnancy baldness, which usually will re-grow following the event, has stopped.

You will find three kinds of Alopecia Areata, which are named according to their severity.

Alopecia Areata is mild patchy baldness on the scalp.
Alopecia Totalis is the loss of all scalp hair.
Alopecia Universalis is the loss of scalp and all human body hair's.

Researchers think that Alopecia Areata is definitely an autoimmune disease; which means that the body’s immune system acts as though the hair follicles are foreign and attacks them. White blood cells called T-lymphocytes attack the hair follicle which in turn causes the hair to quit growing and enter into the telogen (resting) phase, then about three months later, when the resting phase is finished the hair will then fallout. Only when T-lymphocytes stop assaulting the hair follicle will brand-new hair grow.

Treatments for Alopecia Areata

There is no cure for Alopecia Areata, there are only treatment plans, these treatments will have to be continued until the condition ceases, which in most cases happens within a very short period of time, with or without treatments. Treatments for Alopecia Areata are roughly put into two groups.

1) Patients with less than 50% hair loss

2) Patents with over 50% hair loss

Treatments for less than 50% hair loss

1. Cortocosteroids
2. Dithranol
3. Retin A - Tretinoin
4. Topical Minoxidil marketed as Regaine, Rogaine or Headway
5. Zinc

Treatments for above 50% hair loss

1. Systematic Cortisone
3. Irritants
4. immuno-suppressive drugs

There's also natural hair loss prevention products that work some better yet then the above-mentioned Drug treatments. What you need to do seriously would be to visit a doctor that can advise you for the treatments currently available, and do a complete analysis as to the reasons your hair is shedding and what hair loss prevention product is the best for you.

1. Herbs like saw palmetto, pygeum, and nettle roots are natural DHT or dihydrotestosterone inhibitors. It indicates they are capable of stopping and halting the hair-follicle-killing DHT hormone. Whenever your follicles of hair get unclogged as a result of using these herbal treatments, your hair will begin growing again.

2. Ginko biloba is another famous herb that is effective in those that face hair loss. Ginko biloba works well at improving blood flow. With all the boosted blood flow, your hair roots will receive sufficient nourishment and as a direct result, healthy re-growth of the hair is triggered and promoted.

3. Green tea is undoubtedly an herbal drink that really needs no further introduction. Green tea known as the miracle tea that is able to cure or reduce multiple health problems. Green tea, in relation to treating alopecia condition, contains substances which have been designed for blocking 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme accountable for the development of DHT hormone.

Don't Be Extremely Hungry When Dieting

Being hungry can be a pleasant feeling if you are at a restaurant waiting for your favorite meal to arrive, but if you are on a diet, it is a whole different story. Nowadays most of us have plenty of food and getting more is just a matter of going shopping. However, your brain doesn’t know that. Evolutionally we are still living in the times when the people had to struggle for every meal. On a biological level eating is so important to us, that being hungry overrides about everything else. Your brain is demanding , even forcing you to find something to eat, because the energy levels are getting low, which can be dangerous, even deadly.

Whenever your dieting demands a lot of willpower, you are risking your success. Having to fight against your inner survival system is hard work and not pleasant at all, and the longer you continue, the more likely it is that you fall off the wagon. Many diet plans take this into account and suggest “free days”, when you get to eat anything you want to, to make it easier to continue on the diet. In other words, you only have to suffer for six days a week and the seventh is for resting (or whichever the system). This might work for some people, but is not the best long term solution. It can also lead to unnecessary binge eating on the free days.

Another good reason for the “free days” is to avoid the energy saving mode your body will turn itself into, if you keep your calorie intake too low for a longer period. The body doesn’t know you are trying to lose weight, and it starts to protect you from your diet instead. If that happens, your weight stalls and you would have to eat even less to keep losing weight.

Many low-calorie diets are about different ways to eat very little but try to make it seem like you were eating more. Short diets are about will-power: you get fast results if you can handle being hungry for three-four days. In both cases, you will end up being hungry. If you really want to go through a short diet, there are some things to do to make it a bit easier to succeed. Clean up your cupboards and make sure there are no temptations at home. Go shopping before the diet and stay away from groceries and malls while on the diet. Make plans and keep yourself busy for the duration of the diet. Short diets can be a good solution if you want to lose weight fast just before a special event.

Low-calorie diets are often high in carbohydrates and low in fat, which makes sense calorie-wise: fat has nine calories in a gram whereas carbohydrates have only four! But what would you say if I told you that carbohydrates are the only macro-nutrients which can cause weight gain? If you are gaining weight, it’s very likely that your body has problems with processing high amounts of carbohydrates (remember, we are evolutionally still in the past where we didn’t have refined carbohydrates around every corner), and if that is the case, you can gain weight even on a low-calorie diet, if the calories come mostly from carbs.

Carbohydrates make you hungry as well. High carbohydrate loads raise the blood glucose level, and the pancreas will secrete insulin to get it back to normal. Insulin is very effective and fast. It gets the blood sugar level back to normal and usually even below, making us hungry right after eating. Protein and fat keep you satisfied for longer, and the people on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet report not being hungry at all even if they have chosen to limit their calorie intake.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Laser Hair Removal - Which Laser is Right For Me?

Hair removal by laser has become more popular over time, especially in recent years. This has caused more manufacturers to get involved in this big booming business. However, before the manufacturers can release their products to the global markets, they should obtain the permission from the Food & Drug Administration Department (or similar institution in other countries) in advance. The organization is in charge of either giving approval or denying approval to such products.

The methods that have obtained approval from the FDA and are now widely available on the market consist of various types. Different products are used to serve different methods. The wide variety of hair removal lasers include the Ruby Laser, the Alexandrite Laser, Diode Laser, Long Pulse Nd: Yag Laser, and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Devices.

The oldest method that has been used in the field of hair removal for years is the Ruby Laser. Light as well as fine hair are the most suitable kind of hair to which this hair removal laser can be applied to. But there are some proven disadvantages in using this method. If the patient has quite dark skin, this method is not an option. Neither is it applicable to those people who possess tanned skin. Another known disadvantage of this method is that it covers only an area of hair that is quite small. All these factors have caused the method to lose popularity over the last few years.

The second oldest type is the Alexandrite Laser which happens to be the instrument with the highest speed of laser. It works very well with patients whose figures are reasonably large and possess the complexion of light-to-olive. This type of laser is used the most commonly all over the world.

As mentioned earlier, dark-skinned people are not eligible for Ruby hair removal lasers. So, does it mean that they have no option of laser hair removal? No. They definitely have an option thanks to the Diode Laser, which works contrary to the Ruby laser. Diode Lasers work just fine for people with dark skin. Yet, it doesn't work out so well for those people with lighter or finer hair. Since the rates of repetition of treatment for these types of lasers are high, it can be used for the brisk treatment of large areas of hair.

There is also a type of laser that can safely be used on people with the tanned skin. In fact the Long Pulse Nd: Yag Laser can safely be used regardless of the skin type of the patient. Like the Diode Laser, this method also has quick repetition rates and thus can be used to treat large bodies of hairs quickly. Nevertheless, the patients who have been treated with this type of laser claim that it annoys them more when the treatments last. It has also proven to be inadequately effective for those with the light and fine hair, who are more suitable to other types of lasers.

The last and most recent type of hair removal lasers are the Intense Pulsed Light devices. With this treatment methodology, there is actually no laser used. Instead, the method uses equivalents to lasers. Equivalent, it is said, because it also has selective photothermolysis concept which is the same to that of a laser. Yet, there is a disadvantage. It is more difficult to use these devices than to use lasers. Therefore, it is necessary to hire a skilled physician who has lots of experience, which may well result in higher spending budgets.

Helping Your Overweight Child

Be Supportive.

One of the most important things you can do to help overweight children is to let them know that they are OK whatever their weight. Children's feelings about themselves often are based on their parents' feelings about them. If you accept your children at any weight, they will be more likely to accept and feel good about themselves.

It is also important to talk to your children about weight, allowing them to share their concerns with you. Your child probably knows better than anyone else that he or she has a weight problem. For this reason, overweight children need support, acceptance, and encouragement from their parents.

Focus on the family.

Parents should try not to set children apart because of their weight, but focus on gradually changing their family's physical activity and eating habits. Family involvement helps to teach everyone healthful habits and does not single out the overweight child.

Increase your family's physical activity.

Regular physical activity, combined with healthy eating habits, is the most efficient and healthful way to control your weight. It is also an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Some simple ways to increase your family's physical activity include the following:

  • Be a role model for your children. If your children see that you are physically active and have fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active for the rest of their lives.

    Plan family activities that provide everyone with exercise and enjoyment, like walking, dancing, biking, or swimming. For example, schedule a walk with your family after dinner instead of watching TV. Make sure that you plan activities that can be done in a safe environment.

  • Be sensitive to your child's needs. Overweight children may feel uncomfortable about participating in certain activities. It is important to help your child find physical activities that they enjoy and that aren't embarrassing or too difficult.

  • Reduce the amount of time you and your family spend in sedentary activities, such as watching TV or spending time on the computer.

  • Become more active throughout your day and encourage your family to do so as well. For example, walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or do some activity during a work or school break-get up and stretch or walk around.

The point is not to make physical activity an unwelcome chore, but to make the most of the opportunities you and your family have to be active.

Teach your family healthy eating habits.

Teaching healthy eating practices early will help children approach eating with the right attitude -- that food should be enjoyed and is necessary for growth, development, and for energy to keep the body running.

The best way to begin is to learn more about children's nutritional needs by reading or talking with a health professional and then to offer them some healthy options, allowing your children to choose what and how much they eat.

Low-Carb Diets & Type 2 Diabetes

Low-carbohydrate diets may lure clients with promises of rapid weight loss, but the long-term health effects of these popular diets are unknown. Researchers recently conducted a prospective trial to determine whether low-carb diets used for weight loss increased or decreased the risk for type 2 diabetes in women over time.

Using data from the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study, the researchers examined the association between a low-carbohydrate-diet score (based on percentages of energy as carbs, fat and protein) and the risk of type 2 diabetes among more than 85,000 women over a 20-year period. Females who ate more carbohydrates had a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with those who ate fewer carbs during the study period.

“These data suggest that diets lower in carbohydrates and higher in fat and protein do not increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in women,” the researchers concluded in the February issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “In fact, diets rich in vegetable sources of fat and protein may modestly reduce the risk of diabetes.”

Keep in mind that not all carbs are created equal. If you do reduce your carbohydrate intake to lose weight, make sure you retain the healthy “complex” carbs, such as fruits and veggies. Instead, toss out the “simple” carbs, like those found in processed foods.

Monday, July 26, 2010

When is the best time to eat?

However, the best time to consume energy is when the body is at its most active, a time when the metabolism is elevated or when there is a need for extra nutrition. Perhaps the first instance should be in the morning, starting with a good breakfast. Remember while asleep the body has had no nutritional supply for up to ten hours so cells are ready to effectively use up the energy from food. Also, the body needs it’s supply of essential nutrients in the morning, especially protein, because excess or circulating proteins have been used up to help recover muscles, hair, skin, nails or to create millions of antibodies to defend against bacteria which may have entered the body during sleep. This means extra energy will be used to help replace the protein lost. Reduce your calorie intake as the day passes by. Better still divide your daily calorie intake into 5 meals a day- breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner (after every 3 hrs). Try avoid eating big meal after 9 pm.

Another good time to eat is after exercise. Have a big meal about 30-45 minutes after a weight training session. During this time enzymes responsible for energy production are most active and energy-storing hormones within the blood are suppressed. This means there will be less chance energy will be stored as fat. Carbohydrates will be immediately taken up to replenish the low glycogen stores caused through exercising, the protein will be needed to aid recovery and growth of new calorie-burning muscle tissue and most of the fat from the meal will be needed to fuel many of these reactions. After a good workout most meals are likely to be utilized completely for recovery.

Soups: healthy and filling

  • Soup contains less calories but they are nutritious than any other meal. Soups are found to keep you full for longer than most other meals and this has been proved by the age old phrase "nothing fills me up like a hot bowl of soup". The researchers at Penn State found that foods high in water content had a very strong impact on satiety (the feeling of satisfaction/fullness).

  • They are one of the most nutritive method of consuming vegetables because the vitamins and nutrients in the soup are retained in it.

  • The antioxidants present in vegetables and garlic have excellent healing properties for diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma etc . Diabetics would also benefit from drinking soup as the high antioxidant content of soups helps rectify the damage by the high blood sugar levels. Remember, only the fresh soups have the antioxidant properties.

  • Soups are filling and very low calorie, therefore they are great for someone trying to decrease the quantity of food.

  • Soups are a great substitute to excessive tea/coffee.

  • Kids often enjoy soups and it is far tastier than cooked vegetables.

Wheat Soup


  • Whole Wheat - 2 cups

  • Yogurt - 4 cups

  • Chicken Stock - 4 cups

  • Egg - 1

  • Flour - 2 tbsp

  • Salt to taste

  • Ground Pepper - 2 tbsp


  • Take Wheat and soak in water for 8 hours. Drain the water. Place the yogurt in a sieve lined with cheesecloth and let the excess liquid drain out for a minimum of 5 to 6 hours, or overnight if possible.

  • Take a deep (soup) pan and add the chicken stock to it and boil the wheat in the chicken stock. On low heat cook for 1 hour.

  • Once the wheat is cooked strain the soup using sieve.

  • In a frying pan add the yogurt, flour and egg and mix well. Cook on a low heat until it thickens.

  • Add ½ cup of water and cook until the mixture gets boiled. Add this mixture to the soup and boil for 3-4 min and serve.

  • Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped onions and sauces if desired.

Mediterranean Soup


  • Butter - 50gm

  • Leek - 1

  • Water

  • Flour - 1/4 cup

  • Broccoli - 400 gm

  • Carrots - 3

  • Zucchinis Sliced - 2

  • Red pepper Sliced - 1


  • In a frying pan add butter and once the butter is melted add the leek to the pan. Fry for 10 min.

  • Add the flour to the leeks and fry for 2-3 min and add the vegetable stock and water to the pan and boil for 15-20 min on medium heat.

  • Once the soup starts to thicken, add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 15 min on medium heat.

  • Once the vegetables are cooked and become soft. Turn off the heat and serve.

Roast Tomato and Chickpea Soup


  • 6 large plum tomatoes

  • 1 medium onion, halved

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 300ml / 1/2 pint / 11/4 cups vegetable stock

  • 430 g can chickpeas, drained

  • 30ml / 2 tbsp tomato puree

  • 30ml / 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

  • salt and black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 200oC. Place the whole tomatoes, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes until tender and lightly browned.

  • Place in a food processor with the vegetable stock and half the chickpeas, and blend until smooth.

  • Press through a sieve.

  • Return to the pan, add the tomato puree, the remaining chickpeas, and the coriander. Bring to the boil and serve hot.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thyroid Disease

Understanding the Thyroid

It is estimated that 30 million Americans suffer from thyroid related diseases out of which about 50% of the cases are undiagnosed. The reasons that these thyroid related diseases are undiagnosed are that it is either often overlooked or misdiagnosed. This is very unfortunate as thyroid related disease affect almost every aspect of our health. Women are at a greater risk of developing thyroid problems when compared to men and the risk increases with age especially if there is a history of thyroid disease in the family.

The thyroid is a small gland that is shaped liked a butterfly and is present in the neck, wrapped around the windpipe just below the Adam’s Apple area. The thyroid produces several hormones the two prominent ones being the triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The numbers 3 and 4 indicate the number of iodine molecules in each thyroid hormone molecule. T3 is biologically more active and functions at the cellular level. These hormones have the responsibility of helping the oxygen enter the cells.

The thyroid contains the only cells in the body that is capable of absorbing iodine, the source of iodine being food, iodized salt and other supplements. The thyroid helps convert the iodine in the T3 and T4 hormones. When the hormone functions in the right manner, it will produce 80% of T4 hormone and 20% of T3.

Thyroid Disease – Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is the name given to the condition when the thyroid gland is under-active. There could be several reasons for this like the gland was not properly formed during birth or it was removed surgically for some reason or the gland simply is not able to produce the required amount of hormone. Also, one of the main causes of hypothyroidism is the autoimmune disease known as the Hashimoto’s disease wherein the antibodies present in the body target the thyroid and destroy its ability to produce the hormone.

Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism include a slow metabolism, fatigue, weight gain and depression. To diagnose hypothyroidism, your doctor will recommend a blood test. Treatment of hypothyroidism includes thyroid replacement drug therapy. These medicines have to be taken daily and usually for the entire life span.

Thyroid Disease – Hyperthyroidism

Hypothyroidism is the name given to the condition when the thyroid gland is over-active. One of the main causes of hyperthyroidism is the autoimmune disease known as the Grave’s disease wherein the antibodies present in the body target the thyroid and speed up the production of the hormone.

Some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are fatigue, weight loss, depression, changes in sex drive, insomnia, infertility, erratic behavior, heat tolerance and increased appetite. To diagnose hyperthyroidism, your doctor will recommend a blood test. Treatment of hyperthyroidism includes using a beta-adrenergic blocking drug which helps in blocking the action of circulating thyroid hormone on the body tissue.

Thyroid Disease – Goiter

Goiter is the name given to the condition when the thyroid gland becomes enlarged in size. This could either be because if Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease or nutritional deficiencies. At times the glands become so large, they can be seen in x-rays or can be seen visibly through the neck.

The symptoms of goiter include tenderness to touch, pressure on the windpipe or the esophagus, hoarseness, cough, choking, shortness of breath and the feeling that food is getting stuck in your throat while you are eating.

Thyroid Disease – Thyroiditis

Thyroiditis is the name given to the condition when the thyroid gland becomes inflamed due to bacterial or viral infections.

If you suffer from anyone the symptoms mentioned above, then do visit your doctor and discuss your concerns. In some rare cases, thyroid can turn cancerous too and hence it is most imperative that you take additional precaution. Further, if you are a woman who is nearing menopause then it is always recommended that you routinely get the thyroid levels in your body checked especially if you have a history of thyroid disease in your family. You will have to consult an endocrinologist, preferably one who specializes in thyroid related disorders. A couple of alternate forms of treatment are available and you must evaluate all your options and choose the best form of treatment available.

Thyroid Problems in Women

Symptoms of Thyroid Problems in Women
Thyroid symptoms in women will differ according to thyroid levels. Whether it is low production of hormones or elevated thyroid levels, symptoms usually affect the menstrual cycle. These are explained below.

Abrupt changes in menstrual pattern is one of the common symptoms associated with thyroid disorders. During menstruation, women lose some amount of blood, which is quite normal. However, in hypothyroidism, heavy bleeding during menstruation is observed. This excessive blood loss during menstrual periods causes fatigue and overall weakness. Dry skin and irregular bowel movement are some of the other underactive thyroid symptoms in women.

Hyperthyroidism also interferes with normal menstrual cycle. In few cases, menstrual cycle temporarily stops, and the woman is likely to suffer from menopausal symptoms. However, usually women with hyperthyroidism suffer from light menstruation. Frequent bowel movement (diarrhea), sweating, weight loss and sleeping problems are some of the hyperactive thyroid symptoms.

What Causes Thyroid Problems in Women
What are the conditions that cause malfunctioning of the thyroid gland? Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease are the conditions that produce damaging effects on the thyroid gland. These thyroid conditions as well as other causes of thyroid problems in women over 40 are given below:

Autoimmune Disorders
Thyroid problems in women are linked to autoimmune disorders known as Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis. In both these conditions, the thyroid gland has to face the brunt of immune system's invasion. Now, the thyroid gland is not strong enough to evade the immune system attack. The thyroid gland appears inflamed and it also loses its capability work properly. Swollen thyroid may either cause hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, depending upon the amount of damaged caused by the immune system.

Inappropriate use of medicines to treat hyperthyroidism (excess thyroid levels) is many a times the reason behind insufficient production of hormones. Although, anti-thyroid medicines does help to stabilize excess thyroid levels, when taken in large doses, it can permanently disable the thyroid gland, which may lead to hypothyroidism.

Surgical procedures involving removal of major part of the thyroid gland, can also cause thyroid problem in women that usually manifest in the form of inactive thyroid.

Thyroid Problems in Women and Weight Gain
Unexplained weight gain occurs in women who suffer from hypothyroidism. In hypothyroidism, reduction in creation of thyroid hormones is observed. As a result, the body is no longer able to regulate metabolic rate. To be more specific, in hypothyroidism metabolic rate slows down considerably. As we all know, metabolism is a process in which foods gets converted into energy. As the speed of metabolic rate reduces in hypothyroidism, energy production decreases and most of the food consumed is stored as fat deposits. This additional accumulated fat eventually leads to weight gain.

Thyroid Problems in Women After Pregnancy
Either of the thyroid disorders discussed below can occur after pregnancy. Around 5% of women suffer from thyroid problems after pregnancy. After giving birth to a baby, the new mother may show presence of swollen thyroid. The abnormal inflammation interferes with the normal functioning of the thyroid and eventually causes too much or too little production of thyroid gland.

Treatment for thyroid problems in women aims at stabilizing thyroid levels. After diagnosing the type of thyroid disorder, doctors will prescribe appropriate medications to restore thyroid levels. For hyperthyroidism, anti-thyroid medications are recommended that helps to slow down thyroid activity. On the other hand, women diagnosed with hypothyroidism are asked to take thyroid pills to enhance thyroid function.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Anti Aging Secrets to Healthy Looking Skin

Many of the secrets to healthy looking skin have been passed down through the generations. In some cases, they have been in use for thousands of years. Modern-day researchers have evaluated some of these secret treatments. Now, we know "why" some of them are effective. Here's a look at them.

Wakame Kelp

There is no way to know how long women have been using wakame on their faces. It is a kind of seaweed, native to the Sea of Japan, but now present throughout the world. It was used traditionally to prevent sunburn and to soothe existing burns. Women called it an "anti-aging secret". What do the scientists say?

Wakame contains:

• Minerals important for maintaining the skin's moisture balance
• Compounds that act as minor sunscreens
• Nutrients that inhibit the activity of hyaluronidaise, an enzyme responsible for the age-related loss of the skin's hyaluronic acid
• Antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage caused by the sun's UV rays

What's the bottom line? Wakame kelp extracts are one of the secrets to healthy looking skin that work according to scientific evaluations.

Shea Butter

Although the cosmetic industry has started to take advantage of the benefits of Shea butter and pass them along to their customers, it is still popular primarily in Africa. That's where the Shea nut tree grows. The tree is sometimes referred to as the "tree of life". The medicinal uses of Shea butter in Africa are numerous. It has been used to treat everything from acne to eczema. It is used for the prevention of wrinkles and to fade away age spots. Is Shea butter one of the secrets to healthy looking skin that is really effective?

Here's what the science says:

• It contains vitamin A and E-most newly diagnosed acne patients have low blood levels of those vitamins
• The fatty acids are nearly identical to those present in the skin's sebum on a molecular level, which makes it an effective moisturizer for dry skin and eczema
• It contains emollients, which are compounds that soften
• It has natural anti-inflammatory activity-acne, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and allergic reactions are all inflammatory conditions
• It contains compounds that have minor sunscreen activity
• Clinical studies have proven its effectiveness for softening, smoothing and de-aging the skin's surface. It is one of the effective secrets to healthy looking skin.

Avocado Oil

In areas where the avocado grows, its oil has been used for cooking and as a treatment for itching and dryness. Like Shea butter, it contains the vitamins A and E. Like wakame, it contains minerals necessary for maintaining the skin's moisture balance. It is also an effective moisturizer. But, that's not all. Scientists have learned that applying avocado oil increases the skin's collagen content. The skin's collagen content normally decreases with age.

So, avocado oil is one of the anti-aging secrets to healthy looking skin. The better night creams contain Shea butter, avocado oil and wakame kelp. A night cream could be the secret you've been searching for.

Need further assistance? Then, be sure to visit Lita's site at that covers useful information on quality cutting edge skin care technology that works naturally and safely for your body, skin and health.

Fight Depression With Exercise

For good health and prevention of disease exercise is a habit that can cure a variety of physical ills. Now, there is growing evidence that exercise can also help people who suffer from depression. Just getting up and moving around seems to have a positive impact on mental health as well as physical health.

The symptoms of depression include loss of appetite, trouble sleeping and just an all around lack of interest in doing things that used to make you feel happy. The good news for people suffering from depression is that studies show that physical exercise can cause an uptick in feelings of well being and the alleviation of feelings of depression. Exercise will help increase your appetite because you're burning more calories and it can help you sleep better because you're burning off some excess energy.

In a 2000 study performed at Duke University Medical Center, 156 people with major depressive disorder (MDD) volunteered to participate in an experiment to test the effect of exercise on depression. After four months, all of the patients reported significant reductions in their depressive symptoms. Also, the results were the same regardless of what kind of exercise they did. Researchers demonstrated in this study that there is an inverse relation between exercise and depression. In plain English, that means that as exercise goes up feelings of depression go down.

Taken together with treatment by a mental health professional, medication is often prescribed to treat depression. To see how exercise compares with taking medication, one of the groups of volunteers did no exercise but instead took Zoloft during the study. The result was that the groups that exercised reported 22% fewer feelings of depression than the group that took medication alone. In addition, the groups that exercised avoided the unpleasant side effects like nausea and insomnia that are sometimes reported by people who take Zoloft.

There are so many benefits of regular exercise. Reductions in heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis and stress are just a few. Now, we also know that feelings of depression can be significantly helped by getting up and getting moving. Try adding some exercise to your daily routine and you'll be healthier both physically and mentally.

Early Sign of Depression Symptoms

Depression can really affect your health. It is the problem not only related to your mind but badly affects your physical conditions. People who remain depressed for long time becomes very selfish and immature because they start to lose hope and they always think in negative angles. We all being human beings feel sad occasionally but people who are depressed feel sad on daily basis. The sadness and hopelessness are associated with the depression symptoms but there are some physical symptoms of depression exist as well in people who are suffering from problem of depression.

To give help to all people who are depressed is not an easy thing to do. When you will try to give them comfort form one side, they will think about the other points and when you will try to overcome other, they will take you in some other direction because they are addicted to remain sad and unhappy and when they feel anything good, they immediately start to think that this happiness can bring something else bad for them. So you need to tell them that they are depressed and it is a disease whose only cure is thinking positively.

The depression symptoms which can bring changes physically are less sleep and change in eating habits. When you do not feel sleepy at nights and on the next day, you want to sleep at work or at your school, you are most probably going towards the depression. Same is the case when your eating habits change. Sometimes, you do not feel hungry at all and sometimes, you feel so much hungry when you are depressed. If you are worried for some reason and if you are seeing depression symptoms in you, you should immediately consult someone to help you sort out your problem. Otherwise, you can suffer from depression. Another physical symptom of depression is lack of energy in body for doing anything. When you suffer from depression, you become lazy because your mind is not supporting you and your nervous system remains inactive for long period. In reaction, you feel less energetic and less willing to do anything. This usually happens when you cry and feel sad for long time. During period of crying, you lose your hopes and energy and the next day, you feel tired and lazy.

Chronic and constant headaches are another symptom of depression. Feeling pain in body for more than week and constant headaches can be taken as a positive step through the depression. Some patients feel constant pains in their body without any reason and when they go for medical check up they see nothing is wrong with them. It happens due to the depression. Sometimes, for this reason doctor's advice you to take some depression control medicines and foods which help to maintain your normal depression.

If you think you are suffering from any of the above mentioned symptoms, then you should take some guidance and help to overcome your depression problem completely.

Lack of Vitamin D Raises Hypertension Risk

(NaturalNews) The trail of vitamin D's health benefits just keeps getting longer and longer. In the past few months alone, numerous studies have been published suggesting vitamin D has protective and beneficial effects against bone disease, heart problems, Parkinson's disease and overall mortality. Recently, another study published in the journal Hypertension has linked low levels of vitamin D in the blood with a higher risk of getting hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Details and Findings of Study

Previous studies had already suggested that a link between low levels of vitamin D in the blood and hypertension existed. Definitive data in the form of prospective studies, however, had been somewhat limited. The said study followed some 1,484 women from the Nurses' Health Study II. The study subjects did not have hypertension at its commencement, and the women were aged from 32 to 52 years, with their average age being about 43 years.

After having accounted for a series of factors which could affect blood pressure, including age, race, body mass index, level of physical activity, family history of the disease, use of oral contraceptives, as well as blood levels of calcium and phosphorous, the study team found that women with lower levels of vitamin D had much higher incidence of hypertension.

Women who ranked in the lowest quartile for blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D, had a 66% higher risk of having high blood pressure, as compared to those in the highest quartile. The median 25(OH)D blood levels were also lower in hypertension sufferers (25.6 ng/mL) as compared with those who did not have the condition (27.3 ng/mL).

All in all, almost two thirds, or 65.7% of the women, were found to be deficient in vitamin D (less than 30.0 ng /mL). That, in itself, is quite a startling statistic. Perhaps nurses spend the majority of their days indoors, away from the health-promoting rays of the sun. And it was found that those deficient in the vitamin were 47% likelier to develop high blood pressure than those who had enough of it.

"Given that 65.7 percent of women were vitamin D deficient, the population risk attributable to vitamin D deficiency is 4.53 new cases of high blood pressure per 1000 young women annually. If this association is causal, then vitamin D deficiency may account for 23.7 percent of all new cases of high blood pressure developing among young women every year," wrote the study team, comprising Dr John P Forman and his colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Bottom line

As mentioned at the start of this article, knowledge of vitamin D's health benefits just keeps increasing. As far as lowering blood pressure is concerned, it is still unclear if vitamin D supplementation would do the trick, something which the study team has asked future research to look into. In meantime, most of us are well aware of the health benefits of the vitamin D which our bodies create on their own, a process which is only possible if we allow the sun's life-giving rays to touch our naked and unblocked skin.

What is Lung Cancer?

Cancer is a class of diseases characterized by out-of-control cell growth, and lung cancer occurs when this uncontrolled cell growth begins in one or both lungs. Rather than developing into healthy, normal lung tissue, these abnormal cells continue dividing and form lumps or masses of tissue called tumors. Tumors interfere with the main function of the lung, which is to provide the bloodstream with oxygen to be carried to the entire body. If a tumor stays in one spot and demonstrates limited growth, it is generally considered to be benign.

More dangerous, or malignant, tumors form when the cancer cells migrate to other parts of the body through the blood or lymph system. When a tumor successfully spreads to other parts of the body and grows, invading and destroying other healthy tissues, it is said to have metastasized. This process itself is called metastasis, and the result is a more serious condition that is very difficult to treat.

Lung cancer is called "primary" if the cancer originates in the lungs and "secondary" if it originates elsewhere in the body but has metastasized to the lungs. These two types are considered different cancers from diagnostic and treatment perspectives.

In 2007, about 15% of all cancer diagnoses and 29% of all cancer deaths were due to lung cancer. It is the number one cause of death from cancer every year and the second most diagnosed after breast and prostate cancers (for women and men, respectively). Lung cancer is usually found in older persons because it develops over a long period of time.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Hidden Health Dangers of Diet Soda

Can sugar free drinks make you fat? Is diet soda just as detrimental to your healthy eating and your fat loss goals as drinks with added sugar? Let's find out...

First off, I'm going to ask you if you can do me a little favor. Can you raise your hand if you believe diet soda is a "healthy" alternative to full-sugar soft drinks?

Yep, that's quite a few hands I see raised in the air.

Here's another question: Hands up if you know somebody, or you've ever heard a stranger talking out loud about how they love to choose sugar free soft drinks.

"I'm on a diet, better get the diet soda." Or my old favorite: "Diet soda is good for you, did you know it has no sugar content at all?"

Here come those hands again. Even more waving at me this time!

Better put them down now though, you look kinda weird sitting there waving your hand at the screen. :-)

Well it might shock you to learn that there is absolutely nothing even remotely healthy about diet soda!

Artificial Sweeteners Can Make You Fat

It might sound crazy, but even though the artificial sweeteners in sugar free drinks have no calorific value (zero calories) there is evidence to show that they cause you to gain weight.

But that's not all. There is good evidence to support the theory that "diet" drinks are even more fattening than those loaded with sugar!

Wait a minute, what the deuce!?

How Your Body Reacts To Artificial Sweeteners

Did you know that the number of calories you eat is actually less important than where your calories are coming from when it comes to weight loss? It's all about your body's hormonal response to the calories you eat.

In the case of diet soda there are no calories, but the chemicals you are drinking trick the body into believing it's eating something sweet.

One of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners is Aspartame (just check your ingredients). This little bad boy will actually prevent your body from producing serotonin (responsible for controlling appetite amongst other things).

And what does your body do when it is suffering from low serotonin levels? It tells your body to go and get some of the foods that it knows will stimulate the release of the chemical.

And guess what, this just happens to be the waistline expanding, high-calorie, carbohydrate-rich, processed "junk" foods that every dieter fears!

So there you have it; sugar free soda is encouraging your cravings for junk food. Bad news.

Your Insulin Response

As strange as this may sound, scientist have gathered evidence that zero-calorie artificial sweeteners stimulate the release of insulin. Insulin causes your cells to absorb blood sugar. Your cells then use this blood sugar for energy.

However, artificial sweeteners contain no sugar (of course). So your body is left feeling tricked with no food to feed your cells. Not to be outdone, if there is no food for your body to process, it had better go out and get some! And of course, this triggers your appetite!

Again you will be experiencing strong junk food cravings as you search for that "quick sugar fix". But as we all know, the quick fix is closely followed by a "crash" and yet more hunger pains and cravings. Not to mention the fact the sugar low leaves you feeling terrible!

Just think about how many time you've told yourself "man, I need a sugar hit". You know that candy bar is bad for you, but you NEED it! Wouldn't you like to get rid of these cravings or control them if you had the chance?

Diet Soda Linked To Obesity?

A study conducted at the University of Texas has proven some very frightening links between drinking diet soft drinks and obesity.

Sharon Fowler and colleagues conducted an 8-year study on the links between soft drink use and weight gain.

"What didn't surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity," Fowler tells WebMD. "What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher."

The researchers made a shocking discovery when it came to diet soda.

"There was a 41% increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day."

I think the results of this study are very conclusive. It just goes to show that diet soda is not the "healthy" alternative that soft drinks companies would have us believe. If you are serious about your health, and serious about losing weight then you need to leave soda on the shelf.

Apples the Perfect Snack

Apples are a highly under rated snack food. They are portable, healthy, come in a variety of colors and are very versatile. They are relatively low in price to make them accessible to all. They combine a snack with a drink by quenching our thirst in a nice juicy snack.

They are a zero fat treat that has the benefits of containing fiber and carbohydrates. They also contain a variety of wonderful vitamins & minerals including A, C, K, Calcium and Iron just to name a few.

Make sure to clean your apples. Eating the skin is recommended as lots of the vitamin's and minerals are contained in and around the skin area.

There are a variety of different types, colors and flavors of apples, which means there is a variety to meet everyone's taste.

I think kids would greatly benefit being led towards an apple as opposed to a fruit snack, a processed apple sauce, granola bar or crackers. Sharing a less processed snack with our children is a great life lesson and well as they produce a biodegradable core instead of a plastic wrapper or container.

We can even buy apple snacks now at McDonald's as a fry alternative although these contain preservatives and come in a plastic wrapper but they are still a better option than fries.

Some other great ways to serve apples to our kids are cut into rings after removing the core. Or after peeling into a crock-pot for a wonderful homemade apple sauce. It's your more ambitious a homemade apple butter will beat grocery store jam any day. There is always Apple Crisp's or baked apples that are a sweet nutritious dessert.

Let's simplify snacking and go back to basics. Let's just slice our apples at home for our children and store them in a re-usable container. Or just hand them apples to bite on like we did as kids! Are you with me? In fact, why stop there? Let's feed them to ourselves as well.

We have gone pretty far from a simple fruit when you look at all the snacks, wiggly-things, and more you can purchase at the grocery store. Let's complete the circle. The more I think about it the more I'm convinced that we can't go wrong. Cheaper, less processed, no garbage, a variety of colors and flavors and ways to prepare. We can feel good about what we are feeding ourselves and our families.

The apple might just be one of those near perfect foods.

Any Time Refreshing Mint and Lemon Drink

Any time refreshing mint and lemon drink is a perfect welcome drink for your guests. This minty-lemony drink could be a huge hit in all the parties and family functions. The first timers who are used to colas get little hesitant to try out the green color welcome drink. But after the first sip no one could just stop with one.

Minty lemony drink is a permanent feature in my refrigerator during the hot summer months. My kids love to take this in a small bottle along with their lunch bag to school. The recipe below is for making a concentrate of the drink and store in the refrigerator. Mix with water and top it with crushed ice to and enjoy this refreshing drink the whole year. Set the scene for smiles and get the party rolling, with Minty-lemony drink.


  • 2 cups of fresh mint leaves
  • 6 large lemons
  • 1 Kg of sugar
  • 1 liter of water
  • 1/2 tsp of freshly grated ginger
  • A pinch of green color (food grade)

Method: Pick the mint leaves and wash it in running water. Clean and grate the ginger. Heat water in a vessel and add sugar to it. Let the sugar dissolve; filter the sugar syrup with a thin muslin cloth. Boil it further on medium heat till the syrup becomes a bit thick, about 20 minutes. Take off heat and cool the syrup. Now add the mint leaves, grated ginger and juice of lemons. Leave it aside for 4-5 hours to let the mint flavor seep into the syrup. Add green color if required.

Store the concentrate in a clean glass bottle. To make the drink, pour about 1 tbsp. of the concentrate and add water to suit your taste.

Top it with crushed ice and serve the refreshing Minty-lemony drink.

How to Lose Weight With Miracle Fruit

Losing extra weight whether it is 5 pounds or 25 pounds can be excruciatingly difficult. Most people know that in order to lose weight you need to have will power, focus and a plan. In this day and age we are all busy and busy means not having time make proper meals, not having time exercise as much as we should and because we're tired, we can succumb to temptation very easily. When temptation comes in the form of a chocolate bar or cookie or other high calorie snack - the impact on plans to shed extra weight can be disastrous. What if there was something that could satisfy a temptation craving but still be good for you? Miracle Fruit just might be that something!

Miracle Fruit is a berry plant that originates in West Africa. The berries themselves have a protein called miraculin that is nothing short of miraculous. When the miraculin hits your tongue, the protein binds with your taste bud receptors and enhances the ability to taste sweet. In fact, it works so well you can drink straight lemon juice or bit into a lime without even puckering. In fact, the lemon juice or lime slice will taste like you mixed it with a cup of sugar. Miracle Fruit is not new, it has been used by West Africans for centuries to sweeten simple foods such as cornbread, soups and porridge.

How can this fruit help you lose weight? It's simple: the key is to get your diet on track by reducing sweets. In order to reduce your intake of sweets, you need to be able to withstand the temptation to indulge yourself when you are hungry, stressed or in a hurry. To do this you will need to have healthy food at hand such as carrot sticks, apple slices or other fruit or vegetable. Simply eat a Miracle Fruit berry when temptation strikes and then indulge yourself in the sweetness of the snack. Carrots will taste like they are covered in brown sugar. Apple slices will taste like they are straight out of a pie and you will be on track to losing that extra weight!

The same principle can be applied at home as well. When you feel like snacking (which is the downfall of the dieter) make sure you eat a Miracle Fruit berry first and then head straight for the crisper instead of the cupboard. You can also indulge in things such as a lemon meringue pie - just leave out the sugar! You can also brew cold tea and pair it with a Miracle Fruit berry in order to feel like you are drinking sweetened iced tea.

Successfully losing weight feels amazing and with the right planning and tools you can be successful!

Low Calorie Snacks Good For the Body and Health

Everyone is constantly in search for low calorie snacks that will quell your hunger while at the same time being tasty. Sadly, low calorie snacks don't have the best reputation; they are generally viewed as being dull, tasteless and not good value for money. So why is this? It is mainly due to the fact that we have been conditioned to think of low calorie snacks as only being vegetables and fruits minus any added seasonings.

Many of these low calorie type of snacks that are on the supermarket shelves have sadly been mislabelled as being LITE, SUGAR FREE etc, when in fact this was not the case. This has led to them causing less good to the customers and resulted in the FDA taking more action to prevent the same mistakes happening again.

If you have a creative mind then it's easy to create your own low calorie snacks instead of relying on ones bought from supermarkets and health shops. You can use blackberry jam to help sweeten your cup of tea or anything else that happens to take your fancy. Let your favourite tastes guide you and see where the journey takes you.

Low calorie snacks can be as simple as putting sweet fruits on top of fresh cream or making a sandwich with your favourite vegetables on wholemeal bread. The only limit is your imagination. If you've ever wanted a snack but been unable to find it in your local supermarket then now is the time to create the dish that you really want to eat.

You don't have to give up coffee if you are looking to reduce your calorie intake; this is a very common misconception. Decaffeinated might not sound too appealing to most of you, but it's not as bad as you might think. Many people are put off by the idea of decaffeinated but end up enjoying it with a nice light biscuit.

Just because something is a snack it doesn't have to be junk food, always remember this when you are making snacks. They are designed to help you beat hunger between regular meal times. Drink plenty of water and this will also help you with the hunger you might experience day to day. For those on a diabetic diet or those who keep a blood sugar chart, you need to experiment with different things and recipes to see what works for you; this is what all the top class chefs do. Enjoy healthier living with low calorie snacks.

Lloyd Strasellhoff writes about good facts to know if you or a loved one has diabetes. Find out more about gestational diabetes diet and blood sugar chart.

Skin Cancer Signs to Watch Out For

Cancer of the skin is common for people who have spent lots of time under the sun, without protection from the rays. It affects people of all skin tones. Cancer signs primarily develops on parts of the body that are most exposed to the sun, such as the hands, legs, neck, face, lips, and ears. There are also various stages of skin cancer, and each with their own symptoms.

Signs of skin cancer may be tricky to diagnose, but once you think you have the following then you should see a doctor at the soonest possible time:

1. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common of Cancer signs. However, it is also the most easily treated, and signs of skin cancers tend to appear as a bump on your face or neck with a shiny exterior, or a flat lesion on the chest or back that may be flesh or brown in color.

2. Squamous cell carcinoma has a higher tendency to spread compared to basal cell carcinoma, and can only be treated if detected early. Cancer signs include a firm, red roundish lump on the hands, arms, face, neck or ears. It may also exhibit itself as a flat lesion with a more scaly and crusty surface on these same locations in the body.

3. Melanoma is the most severe and serious form of skin cancer. It is fatal and has led to many deaths, which is why early detection is extremely important in survival. Skin cancer signs of melanoma exhibit itself differently for men and women. Men should watch out for signs of melanoma on their head, neck, or trunk, while for women, it commonly affects the arms or legs. Signs of Cancer to watch out for:

a. Small lesions with irregular borders with white, blue, or red spots.
b. A mole anywhere in the body that changes shape frequently and has irregular borders. It may also change color and size and may bleed.
c. Dark-colored lesions located in the fingertips, toes, palms, hands, or on mucous membranes such as the anus, lips, or vagina.
d. Firm bumpy moles that have a waxy or pearly exterior that may appear anywhere on the body.

4. Kaposi sarcoma is a form of Cancer that is not common, but it is as severe as melanoma. Because it forms in the skin's blood vessels, signs of skin cancer include the appearance of purple and red colored patches in the skin and mucous membranes.

5. Sebaceous gland carcinoma is characterized by painless nodules and often diagnosed as benign cancer. These can appear anywhere, although common affected sites are the eyelids. It is not a popular case but still, it is considered very dangerous.

If you are unsure about skin cancer signs, you may want to get the opinion of a doctor or dermatologist as waiting until the signs are more aggressive is a bad idea. Catching skin cancer early on is the best bet for survival.

Neelima P is an author and publisher of many health related websites. For more information on skin cancer basics, prevention methods and treatment options, visit his website at: Skin Cancer Information

The Benefits of Spray Tanning

Spray tanning is one of the great new ways to get the bronzed glow you want without the harmful effects of sun exposure and tanning beds you don't. Overexposed skin is more prone to sunburn, skin conditions, premature aging and skin cancer. While, the sun is vital to help us receive some of the vitamins and minerals we all need to be healthy, overexposure to the sun can be dangerous and even life threatening. There are many different ways to get the tan you want without the exposure of the sun you don't.

Spray tanning usually falls into a couple different categories: at home and in the salon. Spray tanning, also known as airbrushing, has come about in the entertainment world and moved quickly into spas and salons to be offered to everyone. The cost is relatively low for the quality of the tan and the life of the tan. With airbrushing tanning is taken beyond mis-matched tanning and tan lines that you receive from the sun and tanning beds and instead you are able to customize your tan to help you look for fit, thinner and more natural. This form of tanning also tends to last six weeks or more depending on how well your skin takes to the tanning and is comprised of natural pigments and oils for the tanning process. This is a safer, healthier and better way to tan. Not only are salons offering spray tanning, but there are also spray tanning kits you can get to use in the comfort of your own home.

Tanning kits can be used in the comfort of your own home to achieve the beautiful bronzed results you want without laying in the sun compromising your skin. These kits are fairly easy to use but you should work with an experienced sprayer the first time to ensure you are getting the even tanned look you want. Airbrushing is an art and should be practiced before you expect to get certain results. This can be done with the help of an experienced sprayer and you too can learn how to do a quality spray tan at home.

Everyone wants a nice tan-- However, not everyone is naturally blessed with beautiful glowing skin. Using a spray tanning machine is an affordable and safe way to get tan without damaging your skin. Learn about the best spray tanning machine options at: