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October 2012

Tips to Stay Consistent With Your Exercise Routine

Tips to Stay Consistent With Your Exercise Routine

By Kya Grace

Whenever you start a weight loss program, you are filled with enthusiasm to make it work. Initially, you find yourself going to the gym and visiting health food stores. After a couple of weeks, the routine begins to pall and you let things slip. You tell yourself that having one pastry would not hurt or missing the gym just once is not the end of the world. You are back to square one before you know it. However, it is not difficult to stay consistent with your exercise routine.

Workout in the morning

Morning is the best time to do workouts because it jumpstarts your metabolism and keeps it elevated for a long time after the workout. Besides, you will find it easy to stick to a morning schedule and turn it into a habit. Statistics have proved that more than 90% people have been successful in following a regular regimen of exercise, if it is done in the morning. Moreover, you will get the rest of the day to do your work without any interruptions.

Chart out your workout plan

Paying lip service to your workout routine like, “I’ll go to the gym from tomorrow”, will not work unless you prepare a detailed chart of your long term goals in your weight loss program. The goals should be manageable and easy to achieve, to begin with. Long term goals will mentally prepare you to have a reasonable start before you go in for a long haul. A workout chart will turn into a daily chore when you turn consistent.

Keep yourself motivated

Self motivation works when all else fail in getting you to exercise. Firstly, find yourself a workout partner, who is as serious as you are about exercise. Your partner will motivate you when you find yourself giving in to reasons not to exercise. Secondly, maintaining a record of your progress in a journal will keep up your spirits to carry on with exercise. Avoid comparing yourself to other women with good figures. You must understand that genetics is a major factor for looking different from the others and just strive to stay in the best possible shape.

Select a fitness workout of your choice

You will see quick results if you choose an exercise that you like to do. It could be a combination of more than one exercise like hiking, walking, biking, running, cardio, weight lifting, treadmill, martial arts or even belly-dancing! Whatever it may be, you could continue doing any of them without quitting altogether. This will give you the flexibility to do whatever you may feel like doing at that point and a far better option than not doing any exercise at all.

Have an adaptive program

There may be days when your exercise schedule may not work or have issues that affect your progress. Then, you will need to adjust or change your workout and push yourself harder to see better results. You must remember that goals could change but consistency never changes.

About the Author: Kya Grace is a Sydney personal trainer. If you would like to sign up for a personal training session, or to register for bootcamp trial, visit Boot Camp Sydney.

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Arthritis Treatment: The 8 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Considering Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment

Arthritis Treatment: The 8 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Considering Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment

By Nathan Wei

In a recent segment appearing on ABC World News, George Stephanopoulos reported, "There is a revolutionary new treatment for the wear and tear on joints that can come with exercise after 50." The treatment is "a cutting edge procedure known as platelet rich plasma injection therapy, or PRP, being used to treat conditions like tennis elbow, tendinitis, even arthritis." In this procedure, doctors draw a patient's blood, then centrifuge it to "separate out the healing agents from the blood. Doctors then take that part of the blood and inject it into the patient's achy joint or muscle, hoping to grow healthy tissue." While PRP "doesn't work for" every patient, "most patients are back to their activity within one to two weeks of the treatment."

The problem with this report is that it didn’t convey the really important mistakes people should avoid when seeking out this kind of treatment.

Mistake #1: Not knowing exactly what PRP is. Most people take the same simplistic approach that Mr Stephanopoulos made when describing PRP. It’s not just centrifuging out a patient’s blood and injecting it in. PRP is a specially filtered part of blood that contains many more platelets than normal, roughly 4-7 times the normal number of platelets. In order to obtain a pure and effective sample, it’s important to use a special collection system that prevents platelets from activating too soon and discharging their valuable healing factors before the reach the patients.

Mistake #2: Not having the right diagnosis. There are some conditions that PRP can work well with and others where it’s ineffective. For example, chronic tendon problems, ligament issues, bursitis, and even some types of arthritis will respond to this treatment. However, unless an MRI or detailed diagnostic ultrasound study has been done, it’s difficult or even impossible to really know what the diagnosis is and what the extent of the problem is. Without that knowledge, the treatment will fail.

Mistake #3: Expecting too much. Like any other treatment, PRP is not 100 per cent successful. Depending on the center, success rates can vary widely. Also, it may take more than one treatment.

Mistake # 4: Not locating the right physician. The science of regenerative medicine, unfortunately, has attracted some unscrupulous practitioners who’ve decided to jump onto the “PRP bandwagon.” Without having the proper training, a doctor can do more harm than good. Make sure the physician is experienced with PRP. For example at the Arthritis Treatment Center, we have been using PRP since 2006 for a variety of connective tissue problems. Many doctors just “shoot it in.” Wrong! PRP, when administered correctly is preceded by fenestration, a technique that depends on a highly trained physician “peppering” the area to be treated with tiny holes before slowly infusing the PRP. This is all done using ultrasound guidance.

Mistake #5: Not following the proper protocol. A good center will have a standard protocol they will go over with the patient. Standard operating procedures are critical to the success of any procedure. The protocol will dictate what a patient needs to do both before as well as after the procedure.

Mistake # 6: Taking medicines and supplements that will destroy the effectiveness of the procedure. This is a common and unfortunate problem that all too often occurs and is responsible for many failures.

Mistake # 7: Not getting the proper instruction in physical therapy following the procedure. Almost every patient needs physical therapy after a PRP procedure. This is to ensure that proper stretching and strengthening techniques are given to the patient. When this is done properly, the chances for success rise dramatically.

Mistake # 8: Looking for the cheapest price. Like anything in life, you get what you pay for. Do you want to take your chances with someone who attended a weekend course and has started doing PRP? Or do you want somebody skilled who has paid his dues in order to learn the proper method so you can get the best result possible?

About the Author: Nathan Wei, MD FACP FACR is a board-certified rheumatologist and nationally known arthritis authority and expert. For more info: Arthritis Treatment and Arthritis Treatment Center

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Pain Following Breast Cancer Surgery Tied To Mental State



Mental state and history of pain can predict future pain following breast cancer surgery, research suggests. According to a report published in the British Journal of Cancer, a woman's state of mind as well as previous experience with chronic pain can help predict future pain following breast cancer surgery.

Julie Bruce from the University of Warwick led a research team which examined the psychological, demographic pain-related and surgical risk factors in women from Northern Scotland undergoing breast cancer surgery.

Prior to surgery, the participants (mean age 59.1 years) completed a questionnaire which provided researchers with information about psychological state of mind (catastrophizing and surgery worry, anxiety, depression) as well as robustness (positive affect and dispositional optimism).

The women were then contacted 7 days after surgery and asked about pain at rest (PAR), movement evoked pain (MEP) on average in the first week and preceding hours using a scale of 0 to 10 (0 is no pain, 10 is the worst pain imaginable). The team did not ask the women about specific activities or movements. The pain was described in terms of ache, discomfort, altered sensations or numbness.

What the researchers learned was that among the 338 British women undergoing resectional surgery, those with a history of chronic pain were three times more likely to report moderate to severe movement evoked pain following surgery. 

In other words, when women with this type of breast cancer surgery move around, their odds of feeling pain are much greater if they already suffer from chronic pain.

Interestingly, discomfort was the most common description of the pain experienced by women in the first week after surgery (141/338), then altered sensations (85/38), pain (85/338), numbness (83/338) and finally ache (27/338).

On the other hand, patients who underwent sentinel lymph node biospy (a procedure which checks for the spread of cancer to other organs) and intraoperative nerve damage or division experienced reduced pain.

Bruce and colleagues noted that surgery induced postoperative pain was common in women with chronic preoperative pain and those undergoing invasive axillary procedures (sentinel biospy, axillay clearance and sampling).

But on the other hand, patients with dispositional optimism and positive affect were less likely to report pain following surgery, prompting the team to suggest that dealing with emotions prior to surgery could serve as a useful intervention method. This makes sense, because people are more apt to recover from illness when they're optimistic.

These results suggest that health care professionals should pay careful attention to the needs of patients who might be more likely to suffer post-operative pain. Persistent pain would interfere with daily activities and postoperative physical therapy which is intended to help breast cancer surgery patients more self-reliant.

"Identification of those most at risk of acute and persistent postoperative complications is important for management and also supporting long term recovery in these cancer survivors." Bruce's team concluded.


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Article Source 

Bruce J, Thornton AJ, Scott NW, Marfizo S, Powell R, Johnston M, Wells M, Heys SD, & Thompson AM (2012). Chronic preoperative pain and psychological robustness predict acute postoperative pain outcomes after surgery for breast cancer. British journal of cancer, 107 (6), 937-46 PMID: 22850552


"Pain Following Breast Cancer Surgery Tied To Mental State" copyright © 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.




Why Women Should Opt For Strength Training?

Why Women Should Opt For Strength Training?
By Kya Grace

Strength training for women has been a subject of many recent
researches and its benefits for women that were underestimated
in the past years have been scientifically proved. There is a
rising awareness about strength training amongst women in the
last few years. Women’s fitness regimen that used to essentially
focus on cardiovascular endurance and flexibility now also
involves strength training that guarantees balanced and
injury-free body. This new approach for a fit body which was
believed to benefit men and athletes is now adapted by women as

Low Calorie Diet versus Strength Training

The low calorie diet that is traditionally involved in the
fitness regimen of women affects the metabolism of their body
negatively. It lowers the metabolic rate of body and thus the
desired fitness goal is often not achieved. Women who aim at
reducing body fat can do it easily if strength training is
included in the weight loss program as the metabolism of the
body is increased through strength training. Metabolic
sluggishness in middle aged women is a major problem which can
be solved when they strength train. Strength training increases
your muscle fiber size. This increased muscle fiber consumes
more energy than before and thus boosts metabolism.

Strength training versus Aerobics

Aerobics is another method for fitness training. But in some
cases stressing your body physically by aerobically overtraining
can lead to serious injuries. Strength training increases
endurance of your body as the ligaments and tendons become
stronger and thus it prevents injuries. The risk of osteoporosis
is reduced as the bone density is increased thus resulting in a
stronger body.

Myth regarding unwanted large muscle

Strength training is often associated with unattractive large
muscles in women. This is a myth and must be discarded because
fat cells and muscle cells are entirely different from each
other and cannot be converted into each other. These
misconceptions must be immediately cleared as most women are
genetically incapable of building large muscles as they lack
sufficient hormones to do so. Also women are told to lift
lighter weights compared to men who aim at building a muscular
body unlike women who want slim, toned and shaped body.

Benefits for Women

Apart from decreasing body weight, strength training helps in
increased blood circulation and combats cellulites on thighs. It
gives a balanced physique as often women are skinny in the upper
body and heavy in the legs. It also helps women to increase
strength and endurance which may help during pregnancy and while
some household tasks. It increases immunity as well as reduces
visible aging signs in body.

Therefore myths regarding strength training for women must be
discarded. The research results prove strength training as the
best method to get toned and shaped body for women. It not only
ensures better physique but also a healthy body with increased
endurance and immunity. The disadvantages associated with low
calorie diet and aerobics can be escaped by means of strength

About the Author: If you would like a free session with expert
Personal Trainers or to hire a Personal Trainer, visit Personal Training


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Easy Kids Crafts For Halloween

Easy Kids Crafts For Halloween

By Susanne Myers

Are your kids excited about Halloween yet? We don’t have a day go by where my daughter doesn’t ask me if it’s time to go trick-or-treating yet. Keep them busy while they wait with these easy kids craft ideas you can do together.

Ghost Hand Puppet
Kids love playing with puppets and there’s hardly an easier puppet to make than a ghost. All you need is a white paper towel, or a white handkerchief, a rubber band and a black marker.

Ask your child to spread out her thumb and pinky, but keep the 3 other fingers together. Drape the paper towel over her hand and secure the rubber band around the three fingers. This will be the ghost’s head; the thumb and pinkie form the arms. Draw eyes and a mouth on the paper towel and the little ghost puppet is finished.

Ghost Lollipops
Dress up the lollipops you are giving away for Halloween by wrapping a white tissue or small piece of fabric over them. Secure it with a piece of string or a rubber band. Take a black marker and draw eyes and a round mouth on the ghost’s face.

Spider Webs
What would Halloween be without spiders and spider webs? Make these cute little spider webs with the kids and hang them in the window. All you need are 3 craft or clean popsicle sticks and some white or black yarn. Take two of the craft sticks and glue them together to form a cross. Glue the 3rd one right in the middle, forming a star shape. Tie one end of the yarn around one of the craft sticks in the center. Start weaving it over one craft stick and under the other. Keep going around, forming your spider web. Make sure you leave at least 1/4th inch of the craft sticks sticking out and secure the loose end by tying it to one of the craft sticks. Glue a small plastic spider in the center and hang your spider web up.

Witch Broom Pencil
Witch broom pencils make a cute Halloween gift that doesn’t involve candy. You can turn any pencil into a witch’s broom with a handful of household items. All you need is a regular pencil, some small twigs out of the yard, some string and a little glue.

Break the twigs into equal lengths pieces and line them up around the unsharpened end of a pencil. Make it look like an old fashioned broom. Secure the wigs with string, and then apply a thick layer of glue to keep it all in place.

Cauldron Candy Dish
To make this cute cauldron candy dish, start with an empty round plastic container (like a cool-whip container). Clean it, dry it, and then paint it black. Paint three small wooden balls black as well. After the paint is dry, glue them to the bottom of your plastic container. Add a handle made out of wire if you’d like and your candy dish cauldron is done. Just add some of your favorite Halloween candy.

Pumpkin Painting
Carving funny or scary faces into a pumpkin is a lot of fun, but it also gets quite messy and small kids can’t really do much since there’s a knife involved. Buy a few small pumpkins instead, or in addition to the big carving pumpkin. Use permanent pens or acrylic paint to draw funny faces on your mini-pumpkins.

Make a Halloween Costume

About the Author: Would you like to quickly make creative Halloween costumes that you and your children will be proud of -- for a fraction of the price of store-bought? Susanne Myers has co-authored a book to show you how -- no sewing involved. Visit to learn more.

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Learn The Safe And Correct Techniques Of Cardio Kickboxing

Learn The Safe And Correct Techniques Of Cardio Kickboxing

By Yoshi Kundagawa

Cardio Kickboxing techniques are all the rage in the fitness world today. There is a reason for this. Cardio Kickboxing gives you a great workout and is fun as well. Cardio Kickboxing is also called Aerobic Boxing, Boxercise, Boxaerobics and Aerobox. I went for Cardio Kickboxing after six months of aerobics. I can vouch for its benefits. These benefits include increased strength and flexibility while burning fat.

I know that some years back cardio kickboxing barely existed. Today it has invaded health clubs. More and more people want to benefit from this latest fitness fad. I have practiced this new form of exercise for barely over a month and the benefits already show – in my body and in my self-esteem. If you are reasonably fit and willing to give it a try, Cardio Kickboxing could be your road to a healthier, fitter life.

Let me share what I have learned about cardio kickboxing with you. One basic move is the base move (shifting weight from the ball of one foot to the other). This is good for balance. Another is the bob and weave. The combination move involves a series of quick punches thrown in combination. The front kick involves lifting your foot straight out in front of you with toes up. In the roundhouse kick, the legs are swung around until the shoelaces hit the side of the target in front.

Let’s examine some more moves. The side kick is one in which the foot is lifted up in front of you and then kicked out at the side. If you like to punch, the hook, the jab and the uppercut are for you. My personal favorite is the jab, which involves a quick forward movement of the fist.

As a beginner, I was told to keep a few things in mind. In my first class I was taught not to exercise myself beyond fatigue. “Do not lock joints or hold dumbbells when punching,” My instructor told me. “Overextending kicks is always a bad idea,” I was told.

I realized early on that Cardio Kickboxing is no substitute for a martial arts class. It is meant to be a form or exercise. The advantage is that it is not as violent as a martial arts class and is good exercise. People with medical problems like joint/knee issues should practice kickboxing with caution.

In performing cardio kickboxing techniques I advise looking for a simple programme. Start by working out once a week. Alternate between high intensity and low intensity workouts. Warm up and cool down with the main session of exercise. Complement cardio kickboxing with other forms of exercise.

Wear Proper exercise gear – exercise shorts and t-shirts or tank tops. A sports bra is good for women in training. Drink plenty of water and use a mat and perhaps a sports band around your forehead. Cardio kickboxing techniques have been a godsend to my exercise routine. Here’s wishing you the best as you kickbox your way to good health.

About the Author: Yoshi I Kundagawa is a freelance journalist. He covers the mixed martial arts industry. For a free report on cardio kickboxing techniques visit his blog.

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How to Set Up a Home Gym

How to Set Up a Home Gym

By Pablo Bressan

There are many reasons to work out at home. It’s convenient, you can work out in private, you don’t have to pay gym membership fees, you don’t have to worry about being bothered by other gym goers, you can get into shape without feeling judged, you can work out any time you like, listen out loud to your own music, and have access to your own kitchen or shower immediately after. With so many benefits, it’s easy to understand why so many people are working out from home, but what exactly do you need in order to set up a home gym? How much money might it cost, and what should you buy? Do you need a permanent spot set aside, or just the space before your TV?

Clearly the answers depend on what kind of work out you are going to be doing at home. Let’s assume you are going to be following an at-home DVD work out. You’ve purchased your program, and for most, all you will need is the space before your TV along with a DVD player. Depending on the workout you might require hand weights which you can store in some out-of-the-way place (behind your TV?), a yoga matt to work on so as to not drip sweat on your floor, and a hand towel with which to mop yourself down. The requirements are minimal, and all you need space wise is enough room to do jumping jacks and push ups.

Let’s say however that you’re doing a more advanced program that requires a series of weights, pull-up bar and bench. These sorts of work outs require a little more equipment, but you still don’t need a dedicated work out space. A few free weights of various weight can still be stacked in a closet, and the bench can simply be any hard chair in your house. The pull-up bar can be also taken down, and simply requires a door close by. As a rule of thumb, free weights cost about $1/lb, so depending on how many you intend to buy, you could be racking up some slightly higher costs.

The third kind of work out is at the other end of the spectrum, and requires some serious equipment. Most novices will invest a lot of money in complex pieces of unnecessary equipment, the kind of alien machinery seen only on late night infomercials, but in reality all you need is a power cage. A power cage will allow you to squat, bench press, and do pull ups, and with the barbell you can do dead lifts, military presses, and power cleans. Along with a rack of free weights, you should be able to do any combination of serious work outs you desire. These of course require a dedicated space, and most people convert either a guest room or a portion of their garage to house this equipment. Depending on the quality of gear you buy, this level of home gym could also run you about $500 or more depending on the quality of the equipment you wish to buy.

So there you have it. The reality is that little space or equipment is needed, though there’s always room for growth. For convenience, efficiency and control there’s nothing like a home gym, and over the course of a year you’ll recuperate your costs in saved gym membership fees regardless.

About the Author: If you are interested in some excellent home fitness programs, check out the revolutionary Brazil Butt Lift workout, designed to give you the perky, lifted booty that will look fabulous in a pair of jeans. The Brazilian Butt lift is a blend of Afro-Brazilian dance, ballet moves and traditional lunges and squats--check it out!

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What is Gout and Why Does it Hurt so Much?

What is Gout and Why Does it Hurt so Much?

By Nathan Wei

Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused by a buildup of uric acid. High levels of uric acid in the blood can lead to build up of crystals of uric acid in the joints. These crystals can cause extremely painful attacks.

Elevated blood uric acid results from either over production or under excretion of uric acid.

Crystals of uric acid may deposit as a result of fluctuations in temperature, pH levels in the body, and dehydration.

Acute attacks occur when uric acid crystals cause an acute inflammatory response.

Triggering factors include either increases or sudden decreases in uric acid levels in the blood, an increase in dietary intake of foods high in purines, and joint trauma.

There are three major stages of gout.

The first stage is what is called asymptomatic hyperuricemia. This is when the blood uric acid level is elevated but the patient has no symptoms.

The second stage of gout is acute intermittent gout. This stage begins with the first attack of gout. Attacks are separated by symptom free periods. During this stage of gout, uric acid crystals are present in joints and low-grade inflammation often persists. During this stage, gout can progress.

The final stage is advanced gout. This is when the periods between attacks no longer are pain free. This stage is characterized by chronic pain, arthritis affecting many joints, joint damage, and the development of tophi- deposits of uric acid under the skin.

Gout attacks usually occur in the big toe joint but can also occur in other areas including the ankles, knees, hands, wrists, as well as other joints.

Attacks can occur without warning signs and the pain, swelling, and redness can last several hours, several days, or even weeks.

If elevated uric acid levels persist, crystals can build up in the joints between attacks and cause severe joint destruction. Over time, attacks of gout become more frequent, last longer, and begin to affect other joints.

Uric acid comes from foods that are high in a substance called purines. Foods and drinks that are high in purines need to be avoided. Examples of foods that are high in purines include meats such as beef, pork, lamb as well as beer, wine, shellfish, and canned tuna.

Eating too much of these types of foods can elevate blood uric acid levels and trigger flares.

While a diet low in purines may help lower uric acid, this may not be enough.

The first step in gout treatment is making the diagnosis. This may require examination of joint fluid obtained through needle aspiration of an inflamed joint. This procedure should be done using ultrasound guidance in order to minimize patient discomfort.

Once the diagnosis is made, there are two goals that are needed in order to treat gout optimally.

The first is to reduce the pain and swelling from gout flares.

Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, colchicine, and steroid drugs can help reduce swelling and pain.

The other goal is to lower the blood level of uric acid and keep it at a low level, generally below 6 mg/dL.

It is important to monitor blood uric acid levels during treatment in order to make sure that the blood uric acid remains below 6.0 mg/dL.

During initial gout treatment, it is recommended that prophylactic treatment with either colchicine or non-steroidal- anti-inflammatory medicines is used for at least six months.

Medicines such as allopurinol and febuxostat (Uloric) are usually the drugs of choice.

In younger patients, where kidney function is normal, and over excretion of uric acid in the urine is not a problem, probenecid may be acceptable.

It is important for both the patient as well as the physician to constantly monitor the effects as well as the side effects of medication.

About the Author: Nathan Wei, MD FACP FACR is a board-certified rheumatologist and nationally known arthritis authority and expert. For more info: Arthritis Treatment and Arthritis Treatment Center

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Eating Carbs Actually Leads To Weight Loss And Health

Eating Carbs Actually Leads To Weight Loss And Health

By Mark Hyman, M.D.

Carbohydrates are the single most important food you can eat.

That statement probably goes against everything you've ever heard, so let me explain.

If you don't believe me, take this little test. Think of a carb!
If you're like most Americans, bread, pasta, soft drinks, French fries, sugar, and similar foods probably flew into your mind. Yes, these foods are carbs -- highly processed and refined ones.

And if these are the kinds of carbs you consume on a regular basis, let me warn you, (unless you regularly run marathons), you're most likely either overweight or heading down the road to weight gain.

You may like them, you may consider them "comfort foods," you may think that they couldn't be so bad since they are so predominant in our current diet. But the biological bottom line is that human beings have not evolved to metabolize these types of carbohydrates.

They slow down your metabolism and contribute to every one of the major diseases associated with aging including diabetes, heart disease, dementia and cancer.

In most, cases they are also "empty" calorie foods-the worst possible combination -- high caloric foods, low in nutrients. They deprive you of vital nutrients as well as burden your body with the task of digesting food molecules that aren't giving you anything you need.

Eating them (especially in excess) is a prescription for weight gain. But they're not the end of the carb story. If you're like most people, you may not realize that the wide world of carbs is actually much, much bigger than this limited crowd of processed carbs.

In contrast, natural carbohydrates, which come to your table just like Mother Nature made them, contain many essential nutrients and specialized chemicals that turn up your metabolism via newly discovered plant chemicals call phytonutrients.

So you have a choice: use phytonutrients to spark your metabolism into action, or drown your metabolism with indigestible nutrient-poor carbs.

Our genetic nutritional template goes back 20,000 years. Our ancestors foraged for wild food, like wild berries, grasses, roots, and mushrooms to find life-giving phytonutrients that all humans are designed by nature to eat.

On a recent vacation I found myself in a sea of phytonutrients in the wild islands of Southeast Alaska. I was foraging along with the grizzly bears for bog cranberries, blueberries, nagoonberries, raspberries, and strawberries. These scrumptious berries, bursting with phytonutrients, were smaller, richer in color and taste, (and lower in sugar) than their domestic berry cousins.

Here's a tip: The greater variety and the deeper the color of plant foods you eat, the higher their concentration of phytonutrients. The key is to learn which phytonutrient-dense foods can prevent disease and promote weight loss.

Want phytonutrient power?

Here 's a small sample of the many superfoods that contain these powerful phytonutrients: isoflavones in soy foods, lignans in flax seeds, catechins in green tea, polyphenols in cocoa (yes, chocolate!), glucosinolates in broccoli, carnosol in rosemary, and resveratrol in red wine.

And there are hundreds more that can help you unlock the secret to natural weight loss. All of these compounds -- and dozens more -- will help you fight disease and obesity. These special compounds literally communicate with your genes and turn on messages of health and weight loss. They are key to the success people experience in losing weight on a program I've developed during my 20-years practicing medicine, called UltraMetabolism.

Before you reach for that Cinnabon, know that phytonutrients only occur in whole, unrefined, unprocessed plant foods. All vegetables (and many fruits) score high in phytonutrients, while processed carbs, like bread and pasta, have virtually none.

Here's a shorthand to distinguish between the metabolism boosters and the processed carbs that will only weigh you down:

Anything that has been packaged or put through a machine is processed (like a potato chip). Anything that comes right out of the earth is natural (like a plum).

Don't let all the terminology -- high fat, low-fat, high-carb, low-carb, high glycemic index, low glycemic index, complex carbs and simple carbs -- confuse you. The key is eating whole, real, unprocessed, food found as close to nature as possible. Now you know why your grandmother always told you to eat your vegetables!

Folk wisdom passed down the generations showed how to give the body what it needs. In the early twenty-first century, that wisdom is being confirmed in the research of leading edge scientists. So you can follow these recommendations I offer with total confidence that the latest medical science backs them up.

This new science reveals why you should never do what some ill-advised diets suggest: cut out all carbs. Not a good idea-because you also cut out all the phytonutrients (and the fiber) that only comes from whole plant foods.
Along with their obesity fighting chemicals, vitamins, and minerals to accelerate your metabolism, most whole carbohydrates are filled with healthy plant fiber to slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream.

And for super fast weight loss, you'll want to eat some special "super" fiber foods which I use as my secret weapon with many patients who have had difficulty losing weight. Once you incorporate them into your diet, you'll feel full, experience steady energy, and will never be tempted to overeat.

Here's a guarantee: If you've been consuming highly processed foods such as sodas, chips, and crackers, and you decide to boost your intake of those powerful phytonutrients that I've reviewed, you'll be taking the first step towards re-programming your body for automatic weight loss and health.

My dirty little secret as a doctor is that I never treat anybody specifically to lose weight; I simply help them become healthy using these and other techniques and the weight automatically comes off.

So remember, eat your carbs, but make them the right carbs!

About the Author: Mark Hyman, M.D. is a NY Times bestselling author, lecturer, and practicing physician. Discover how you can program your body to automatically lose weight and regain health by grabbing an exclusive sneak preview of UltraMetabolism here.

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Too Much Sugar May Shrink Your Brain



Eating too much sugar may give you a brain drain, new research suggests. According to a study published in the journal Neurology, high blood sugar levels are associated with brain shrinkage. This evidence underscores the saying "Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing."

Nicolas Cherbuin, a researcher from the Australian National University, led a team which investigated association between blood sugar levels and atrophy of certain brain centers. To this end, they selected 266 nondiabetic and cognitively healthy men and women (60-64 years of age) wherein researchers analyzed participants' fasting plasma glucose levels and temporal lobe sizes.

Cherbuin's team performed brain scans of the participants at beginning of the study and again 4 years later, as well as measuring blood glucose levels.  This was to prove useful for what the team was soon to learn about sugar on the health of the human brain.

What Cherbuin and his team discovered was that plasma glucose levels on the high end of the normal range (greater than 6.1 millimoles per liter) was associated with loss of volume of the amygdala and hippocampus. This occurred even when the researchers accounted for gender, age, high blood pressure, smoking and alcohol consumption.

This is an interesting discovery. Scientists have already established an association between high blood sugar and decreased brain size in type 2 diabetics.

For example, Nasi Khan from the Rawalpindi Medical College in Pakistan and colleagues conducted MRI scans on 100 people with type 2 diabetes and found that 45 of the participants suffered cerebral atrophy. Those researchers offered several hypotheses ranging from mini strokes, to poor control of glucose (and subsequent loss of brain function) to inflammation.

To me the latter seems plausible as a means of explaining the loss of hippocampus and amygdala brain size witnessed in Cherbuin's experiment on people just on the high end of normal blood sugar.

When a person consumes a lot of sugar it leads to an insulin spike. Prolonged exposure to sugar (hyperglycemia) can lead to activation of inflammatory cytokines. Inflammation can seriously damage cellular function.

Based on the results of their experiment, Cherbuin's team wrote: "[T]his finding may contribute to a reevaluation of the concept of normal blood glucose levels and the definition of diabetes."

Thus, Cherbuin's study on older adults serves as a warning: if your blood sugar is high, you risk losing brain function. The hippocampus and amygdala are necessary for memory and emotion. As people age, they often experience cognitive decline, but consuming large amounts of sugar doesn't help matters at all.

If there's any take home message, it would be this: don't over do it. Too much of a good thing is definitely bad.


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Article Sources 

Cherbuin N, Sachdev P, & Anstey KJ (2012). Higher normal fasting plasma glucose is associated with hippocampal atrophy: The PATH Study. Neurology, 79 (10), 1019-26 PMID: 22946113 

Khan G, Khan N, & Aziz A (2010). Detection of cerebral atrophy in type-II diabetes mellitus by magnetic resonance imaging of brain. Journal of Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad : JAMC, 22 (2), 67-70 PMID: 21702270

Shoelson SE, Lee J, & Goldfine B (2006). Inflammation and insulin. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 116(7), 1793-1801. DOI 10.1172/JCI29069


"Too Much Sugar May Shrink Your Brain" copyright © 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.