Friday, February 27, 2009

Build more muscle....

Today's post: Friday, 2-27-2009

Any exercise you do regularly in a way that avoids injury produces abundant health benefits as we have posted about here quite often. Live longer. Avoid Senility. Improve your sex life. Escape cancer. Make heart disease much less likely. Look younger because you’ve actually aged less and more slowly. Be less fat.

But two kinds of exercise build muscle best. They also help you remove or prevent excess fat the best. And, they can be done quickly enough you might actually have time to fit in doing them compared with less effective and slower kinds of exercise.

One is progressive strength training. The other is some form of interval cardio. Both of these kinds of exercise require some vigorous and focused effort. But they also build muscle; increase HDL cholesterol; and cause your body to release growth hormones including testosterone which builds muscle, helps improve your body’s ability to repair itself – including growing new brain cells --and slows aging.

Many of you are already doing these two kinds of exercise. But wouldn’t it be nice to get a bit more results in with the same effort and have some extra leverage in making progress?

There ARE some things that work.

There was a good article on some of them in the Early to Rise on Wednesday this week.

I’ll include the article below and then add my comments after it. There is extra supporting evidence for many of the recommendations in the article. But one may be safer to avoid. Then I include three more not listed in the article.

“This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, a free newsletter dedicated to making money, improving health and secrets to success. For a complimentary subscription, visit”

Keep Your Muscle, Keep Your Youth

By Al Sears, MD

Unless you do something to prevent it, you'll lose muscle as you age. That makes you susceptible to a host of health problems, including fat gain, sexual dysfunction, and depression.

Here are two steps you can take to rebuild or maintain your muscle mass:

1. Eliminate Aerobics.

Research shows that low-exertion, long-duration aerobic exercise causes muscle loss and actually shrinks your heart and lungs. Instead, your exercise routine should include short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gradually changing intervals over time. It's the most effective way to burn fat and get a ripped body with functional strength.

2. Take Muscle-Supporting Nutrients.

You can also take nutrients daily to build and maintain muscle. Some of the best include:

Protein (as the main focus of every meal). Your body needs protein to maintain your muscles and support new muscle growth. Throw away carb-heavy snacks and snack on boiled eggs and nuts instead.

Creatine (5 mg a day). Creatine increases speed, performance, endurance, and strength. It increases the amount of muscle you build during resistance training.

L-Arginine (500-1,000 mg a day). L-arginine is an essential amino acid that builds strength and muscle mass. I've used it for 20 years.

Carnosine (500 mg a day). Made from two amino acids, carnosine helps protect the integrity of your muscles and make sure new muscle will be healthy and last.

Glutamine (5 g a day as a powder in a shake). This amino acid helps stabilize energy levels and boost the production of natural growth hormone in your body. That tells your body to shed fat and build muscle. It also helps prevent muscle breakdown.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Sears is a practicing physician and the author of the patented PACE program. He is also a nutritional expert, a fitness expert, and is board certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine. The PACE program proves, once and for all, that a great body and vibrant health does NOT have to be difficult, time-consuming, or boring…..]”

You can get his PACE interval cardio program including a video to make it easy to learn at: .

And, Jon Benson, who also writes for ETR, has a time efficient strength training program at .

X* X* X* X* X*

1. The trick with protein is to get it in the most health supporting and effective ways. Beef fed only grass, wild caught fish, eggs, whey supplements, nuts, nonfat and very lowfat dairy, pasture raised or very lean poultry, and beans and lentils are all such sources. Grain fed beef and farmed fish are more harmful than beneficial and should be avoided however. (Doctor Sears himself has written on how grass fed beef is far safer and dramatically better for your health than grain fed beef.) Whey and egg protein is the highest quality protein; and the other foods on this list are the healthiest way to get protein.

2. Creatine does work according to the researcher I spoke to at the Cooper exercise group in Texas. Taking it will make it easier to make progress in your strength training and build more muscle because of that. One caution. Be SURE to drink plenty of water if you take it on a hot day and exercise.

3. L-arginine also improves your endothelial function on the inside of your arteries; & because it does so it also can lower your blood pressure if it’s high and increases blood flow which can enhance your sex response. Taking l-arginine before you exercise and just before you go to bed also increases your growth hormone release. It tastes pretty bad. But Now supplements sells it in 500 mg capsules that solve that problem. It works better to take more than Al Sears suggests though. I take 6 capsules or 3,000 mg twice a day – once just before I exercise each morning and once just before bed.

Also, taking l-arginine can have a side effect; but you can usually prevent that by taking a bit of the amino acid lysine at a different time of day. I take 1,000 mg of lysine about mid-afternoon each day. (See below as this may also help build muscle.)

4. I read an article that revealed a study that showed that taking carnosine helped people build muscle mass even if they were over 60 years old. In addition, it not only does so by enhancing the repair process, it may also help protect you from highs in your blood sugar and help slow aging by helping to prevent a process called glycation. So carnosine is also an anti-aging supplement that can be good as well for people with high blood sugar.

5. Glutamine has some problems as it can interfere with some medications and can cause people sensitive to MSG to react to it as it is a similar compound albeit without the sodium content. Unfortunately, one of these effects is to make you fatter according to one doctor I read. So I do not recommend that one unless you take no medicines and are either recovering from being sick or are quite young and in either case are skinny and underweight.

6. DMG and TMG, aka as betaine, when taken with lysine allow cattle to add lean bodyweight so they are given regularly to grain fed cattle so they will sell for more later.

But in people adding lean bodyweight means building more muscle; and DMG and TMG are methyl group donors that protect your health including keeping your homocysteine low. And the one mild side effect of taking l-arginine is mostly cancelled by taking lysine.

So I take 500 mg of TMG and two 500 mg capsules of lysine on an empty stomach each mid afternoon.

These supplements can enhance your health and add to the amount of muscle you gain from your exercise.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

For men 55 & up....

Today's post: Thursday, 2-26-2009

Ouch !!

The recent medical news for men 55 & up has a recent bad development I’d like to warn you about if you are a man over 55.

I’m not quite as cynical about undue drug company influence in medical guidelines recommending that drugs be used to fight disease as many writers who favor using effective preventive efforts that do not use drugs.

After all, for many doctors, they’ve learned medicine where the fixes they know are limited to drugs and surgery. And they’ve not been trained at all well to care about side effects messing up the quality of life for their patients. In addition, many drugs actually work well to do their intended job and many of those have few side effects for most people.

But this recent news has me really wondering about undue drug company influence. Finasteride is a drug that acts to turn down the part of testosterone that causes some male baldness and helps to cause BPH, or benign prostate enlargement.

The bad news is that it turns your sex drive down or off and can cause ED, impotence.

I don’t know about you, but if I was bald, I’d live with it, wear a stylish hat like the bald Dallas football coach Tom Landry used to do, or get a wig. I would NOT take a drug like Finasteride that reduces my sex drive. I’d rather turn that UP a bit!

Further, many men over 55 have some ED and reduced sex drives would prefer not to. (Following a heart protecting lifestyle can prevent ED caused by blocked up blood vessels and can help reverse it.) Viagra still sells well for a reason!

So, I was shocked to hear that one or two medical groups actually are recommending that Finasteride be given all men over 55 to help prevent BPH & prostate cancer.

This is nuts to put it bluntly.

Some men get neither without taking Finasteride. Even if it didn’t have such disagreeable side effects, why should they have to pay the drug companies to take Finasteride? Second, as I’ll cover shortly, there are other ways to deal with BPH. But third and most important, while taking Finasteride seems to help TREAT prostate cancer, I’ve never seen any study showing it effective in preventing prostate cancer. Moreover, most men who do get prostate cancer get the slow kind that they do not need to treat. Why should they take Finasteride? Further there ARE other ways to prevent prostate cancer and the kind of aggressive prostate cancer that would be the ONLY justification for having them take Finasteride which has NOT been proven to prevent this kind of cancer.

So, to me, this is irresponsible and badly misguided with the only certain benefits going to the bank accounts of the drug companies who provide Finasteride. Hmm. This does NOT look at all good for the ethics or good judgement of the doctors involved.

A. The knowledge of what can be done without this drug, Finasteride, to prevent or reverse BPH that avoids these side effects is not as strong or well known as the ways to prevent heart disease without drugs which is totally possible and beginning to be better known. (See our post on Tuesday this week, Special news on heart health.... Tuesday, 2-24-2009.)

But there is some information available.:

1. If you follow the lifestyle that protects your heart and keeps your LDL cholesterol low, it seems to help slow BPH. It also reduces your risk of getting any cancer by a third from the way you eat and exercise. If you include NOT smoking, which you should ! for heart protection, it cuts your chances of getting ANY cancer by two thirds!

2. If you eat abundantly every week of cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc &/or take the supplement DIM which is one of the active ingredients in these vegetables, it slows the conversion of testosterone from the OK form to the form that produces BPH. Eating these vegetables also has abundant other health benefits.

3. If you take 60 mg of the saw palmetto supplement twice each day,

it contains sterols so it will help lower your LDL cholesterol;
it may slow the increase in BPH (I’ve not seen info that this has been tested and verified; but I think it does.); &
it HAS been tested as turning off the disagreeable side effects of BPH on urination to a large degree and will help do that for you.

4. I’ve read that several other supplements can slow BPH even more including nettle root, pygeum, pumpkin seed extract, and bee pollen but I’ve seen less studies on them and have not taken them myself. But we may eventually find a combination of these that will reverse BPH reliably. I have read of some men getting this effect. Best of all, they do NOT turn off your sex drive.

B. But the real kicker is we DO know a good bit about preventing prostate cancer and the aggressive form that would be the only justification for every man over 55 taking Finasteride if they ALL would otherwise get it.

As we describe above, following a heart health protecting lifestyle including eating right, regular exercise and both NOT smoking and avoiding second hand smoke like the plague prevents two thirds of ALL kinds of cancer.

Second, there have been reports that taking 30 mg a day of lycopene, 3 mg a day of boron, 30 mg a day of zinc, and a turmeric or its active ingredient curcumin supplement once a day helps prevent all cancers and prostate cancer in particular. Further, doing this and eating both fresh tomatoes -- and cooked tomatoes served together with extra virgin olive to make the lycopene and other carotenoids bioavailable, tends to lower your PSA reading, may reduce BPH, and is likely to also help prevent all cancers and prostate cancer in particular.

Plus if you do all that, you can still cut your chances of getting the truly dangerous and aggressive kind of prostate cancer by another full HALF by eating raw broccoli or cauliflower at least once every week.

(The research that found this effect and the similar research that found that many of the compounds in broccoli that prevent cancer are destroyed by cooking, did NOT include a study to see if you could get more protection by eating one of these two raw cruciferous vegetables five to seven days a week. But my bet is that if this study had been done, it would have found just that.)

In summary, you can cut your risk of all cancers, prostate cancer, and the truly dangerous and aggressive kind of prostate cancer by something like 90 to 98 %. Plus you do NOT need to ruin your remaining sex life to do so by taking Finasteride! Taking Finasteride does NOT have that kind of proven track record in PREVENTING prostate cancer and the truly dangerous and aggressive kind of prostate cancer

This brings new meaning to the anti-drug motto, “Just say no!”

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Special news on heart health....

Today's post: Tuesday, 2-24-2009

I’ve posted several times on the news that I heard at a lecture I went to on news in preventing heart disease.

It’s now well known that the ideal is to have HDL cholesterol well over 60 and for sure over 40 and to have LDL cholesterol of about 100 & for sure well under 160 for good heart attack protection.

Doctors also have known that it’s the small particle LDL that is literally so small it fits into the chinks in your artery walls that causes heart disease. (The reason for NEVER ingesting hydrogenated oils or transfats is because doing so increases this kind of LDL in your blood and begins to cause cardiovascular disease.)

But until I heard that doctor from Stanford Disease Prevention speak, I’d not heard that you could get a very accurate idea of how much of this stuff you have in your blood by measuring the ratio between your HDL and triglycerides. Simply put, if your HDL is low, 25 for example and your triglycerides are really high, 400 say, you have an extremely high risk for heart attack and other cardiovascular disease because your blood has a very large amount of small particle LDL. Conversely if you have 60 or more HDL and 100 LDL or less you have relatively little small particle LDL in your blood & your risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease is also low.

HERE’S THE NEWS: In the last few days I got two pieces of information about this I thought worth sharing with you right away.

1. A doctor Michael Cutler says that this ratio of HDL to triglycerides is the most effectively predictive measure now known for measuring heart attack risk & that a study done at Harvard found that people with low HDL and high triglycerides had 16 times the risk of a heart attack as people who had high HDL and low triglycerides. (Given what we now know about what this ratio measures, this is no surprise. But it this study has experimental verification that this is so. The theory and logic say it should be so. But this proves that it IS so.

2. Here’s the good news part. There are a number of ways to increase your HDL and a number of ways to lower your triglycerides. (We list several of those later in this post.) But wouldn’t it be nice if there was ONE inexpensive supplement that would both increase your HDL and lower your triglycerides too?

There IS one.

Dr Al Sears has a free health email he sends out you can subscribe to at .

In a recent issue, he states that taking niacin increases HDL and lowers LDL as well and that taking niacin is one of the most effective known ways to increase your HDL.

That’s been well known for some while now.

But he adds that it also lowers triglycerides about as well as it increases your HDL.

(He also says that niacin increases NO release that promotes good artery health and produces relaxed arteries that allow better blood flow.)

To me this is front page news. Since niacin increases HDL – AND it lowers triglycerides, that means it directly lowers small particle LDL and lowers your risk of heart disease.

I’ve been taking 300 mg after breakfast and 300 mg after lunch each day of niacin that I buy for something like $6 a bottle from Whole Foods for quite a while since I knew doing so was helpful.

But this new information reveals taking niacin may be one of the most important things I do to protect my health and avoid heart disease. THAT I did not yet know.

(Taking just 300 mg twice a day of niacin is reasonably safe although taking a lot more, more than 1,000 mg a day, can impair liver function, so I only take that much. And, by taking it AFTER a decent sized meal and not taking more, though I sometimes get some flushing it’s mild and only lasts a few minutes.)

Other ways to increase your HDL and other ways to lower your triglycerides and thus reduce the amount of small particle LDL in your blood.:

There are two ways that do both as we now know taking niacin does.

1. Regular exercise increases LDL and is also known to reduce small particle LDL in your blood so it clearly also reduces triglycerides.

(Exercise is safer to do if you build up to it carefully and do it regularly at least some every week. And it’s far safer to do if you are taking the other steps to increase your HDL and lower your triglycerides in addition.)

2. Never ingest anything made with hydrogenated oils, period. It’s about twice as bad for your heart as taking niacin and exercise both is good for it.

(Because zero transfats on the label allows for up to 0.49 grams per serving and most people eat multiple servings and totally hydrogenated oils, “interesterified oils,” are even worse but have no transfats, you need to avoid anything that has transfats listed as more than zero OR any hydrogenated oils even if the label says zero transfats.)

3. You can also increase your HDL by drinking red wine moderately and by taking lecithin or other supplements that have choline and by eating extra virgin olive oil instead of oils high in omega 6 oil such as canola, corn, soy, and safflower oils.

4. And you can lower your triglycerides by taking DHA, and omega 3 oil supplements from purified fish oil and eating fish such as wild caught salmon and sardines that are high in omega 3 oils and by eating extra virgin olive oil instead of oils high in omega 6 oil such as canola, corn, soy, and safflower oils.

You can also lower your triglycerides by eating onions and garlic often and/or by taking deodorized garlic supplements.

Lastly, you can lower triglycerides by minimizing the amount of sugar you eat and to stop eating refined grain foods and ingesting high fructose corn syrup in anything it’s now found in.

What do you get if you do all of the above? You get high HDL and low triglycerides.

My HDL has been testing over 90 and my triglycerides as under 50 by doing all these things.

That means my heart attack risk is unusually low.

And, now I know that the niacin I’ve been taking is even more important than I knew it was.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

What if someone you care about has bad health habits?....

Today's post: Monday, 2-23-2009

Sunday’s Dear Abby had a letter from a woman who was understandably concerned that her husband would die from his bad health habits.

He smokes and makes no effort to eat better. She gives no details about what he actually eats. But smoking alone can produce the problems that sparked her worry & that she lists.

They’ve been married 32 years; he is only 55; and he has survived five heart attacks so far!

Jeanne Phillips who writes Dear Abby’s answer was to focus on enjoying the time left with her husband. The answer points out that spending time focusing on her worries would get in the way of that. The answer also suggests reaching out to a member of the clergy or a therapist for counseling and emotional and morale support.

This answer is OK but extremely incomplete. Indeed, why not enjoy what she can now of her life with her husband that she still has left? That’s wise advice.

But, it’s too bad that the whole column couldn’t have included the other points I think this woman needs to hear and postponed the other letters for another time.

So, here are my efforts to answer those points.

A. She clearly needs to have already set up her plans for what she will do if he does die in the next 2 to 10 years. He sounds like he is fixing up their house. Will she be able to keep it or keep it long enough to avoid selling soon in the middle of the recession? If he keeps the records of real estate taxes or house payments, does she know where they are and how to proceed? Does she have a way to get an income if she isn’t working now? Does he have a will or life insurance policy? And, if so, does she know where the paperwork is? These kinds of issues can be worked on now while he is still around.

And, other than that he’s survived his initial 5 heart attacks, it doesn’t sound promising that he will live more than 10 more years. Smoking speeds up aging and directly causes heart attacks, strokes, and erectile dysfunction -- & more. So this part is crucially important. She may well need to be set up to do these things. Why not get ready just in case?

B. She needs to find out what SHE can do to become less exposed to second hand smoke. She may develop some of the same problems from that alone if she does not do so. (Second hand smoke often causes the same problems as smoking if you get enough of it.)

Smoking IS a hard habit to break in general; and for people who are nicotine dependent or who get a dopamine rush from smoking, it can be even harder.

But smokers CAN give up the 40 % of the cigarettes they smoke by giving up those they only want to smoke some instead of a lot. And they can smoke outside instead of inside. Her husband might be willing to do either or both if she asks him to even if he can’t quit.

HER life might depend on having him do both even if she doesn’t smoke.

C. She might be able to do some good in improving his health habits. Clearly what she had tried, and likely his doctors have tried, has not worked so far.

Here are some ways she might do that.:

One of the extremely valuable strategies I’ve learned from football is to “Take what the defense gives you.”

The idea is to find what will work -- even though you know some things won’t -- and do all the things that WILL work. Sometimes doing that energetically will produce so much gain and so many positive effects you can get to your desired end result in spite of what will NOT work.

1. If she fixes foods in the categories he likes and he eats what she cooks, she can make small tweaks in what he eats so he eats better even though to him it seems the same. She can feed him grass fed steak with caramelized onions and some onions just cooked until soft in extra virgin olive oil instead of cooking grain fed steak with baked potato and sour cream or she can feed him a Chef’s quality recipe wild caught salmon dish that has a lot of flavor if he likes salmon or is willing to try it. She can learn some ways to make decent tasting vegetable dishes and serve him small servings of those. She can get him walnuts and pecans or dry roasted almonds with his favorite beer instead of junky snacks while he watches TV. She can make him his favorite salad with extra virgin olive oil and garlic instead of a dressing that uses corn or soy oil and high fructose corn syrup. He’ll eat about the same as he’s used to or close to it. He even may really like the new dishes. But the health impact on him will be dramatically different.

2. She can ask him to smoke outside when he possibly can and be really nice to him if he does. She can ask him to try only smoking the cigarettes that he most wants and skipping those he can just as easily pass up.

3. Or, she can ask him if he got the medicines that make it five times as easy to quit if he’d be willing to try that. Incredibly, his doctors very well might not have suggested this. Or, she can ask his doctor to suggest it. He might listen to the doctor if the doctor suggested it while he might not if only she suggests it. (It can be easier to try something hard if you know you’re using a method that is proven to load the dice in your favor. Maybe her husband doesn’t know these meds are available and do help.)

4. Or, she can let him know that if he only uses matches to light up and NEVER uses a lighter, it slashes his risk of getting lung cancer. Who knows? So far, he’s survived the heart attacks. If he can avoid lung cancer, he may live longer than 10 years.

5. She can have him try supplements. 100 mg a two times a day of CoQ10 sometimes gives people with impaired heart function better heart function and more energy.

She can also have him try the supplements that lower his risk of heart attack. If he took those, he might go longer between heart attacks or survive the next one instead of dying from it.

(Our post tomorrow will have some good news about one of the most effective of these supplements and why it works even better than once thought to prevent heart attacks.)

Lastly, even if many of these ideas don’t work, if she does as many of them as she can that will work and does them in a practical and loving way, she’ll be more in control of her life and will FEEL more in control. And that will help her no matter what happens.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

New way to protect your hearing....

Today's post: Friday, 2-20-2009

There are a lot of people who need to protect their hearing.

The vast majority of young people listen to music using earphones. And many of them listen to music turned up loud on both earphones and otherwise. This is proven to damage hearing.

Many people today use cell phones in loud places.

Some jobs have either sudden or continuous loud noises the people in them are subjected to.

And, people in combat are often subjected to sudden or continuous loud noise. Even in training this is the case.

In fact, there are even actors, including some from the original Star Trek who were, that get subjected to loud noises on the set when the script calls for explosions or gunfire.

Lastly, almost all of us occasionally are subjected to sudden or continuous loud noises. For example, my wife and I take our car to commute on some days & take the train to commute on others.

On the days when we drive, our car is so noisy at freeway speed we have to just about double the volume setting on our radio to hear it. Then when we take the train, every time it pulls in both its warning horn that they always blow and the engines are very loud. Just yesterday, as we were getting off the train employee who does announcements and speaks loudly gave an announcement. And, the loudspeaker in the part of the train where we were by the doors was turned up to about double the normal volume for some reason. That was LOUD.

So many young and middle aged people have impaired hearing; and many older people can only hear if they get hearing aids.

For going to a rock concert, you can put in ear plugs in advance. And, in many jobs, wearing noise protecting ear muffs is now part of the job and required.

But even so, many people get their hearing diminished or have to get hearing aids. So, it would be nice if there was a way to prevent this damage from loud noises and sounds.

One clue is that some people don’t seem to have this problem. Of course many people live lives where they are much less exposed to loud noises. But what if something else was protecting many of these people?

There very likely is and has been something else protecting their hearing.

Four supplements taken in advance prevented hearing loss.

A recent study found that supplementing research animals in advance with:

the beta carotene form of vitamin A; vitamin C; vitamin E; & the mineral magnesium prevented damage to their hearing. And it did this when the loud noise was on all the time PLUS when the noise was very loud and sudden.

1. There is separate evidence that beta carotene and other carotenes in foods together tend to prevent skin damage from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. So it may be a very similar effect that makes it protective of hearing. Also, with carotenes, getting a mix of the different kinds of carotenes in the foods that contain them in addition to a modest beta carotene supplement such as the 5,000 iu of beta carotene in a daily multivitamin produces more robust health benefits than taking more beta carotene in a supplement and not eating these foods. Cooked tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and most kinds of organic greens have carotenes. (These foods also have other health benefits.)

2. There is also evidence that natural vitamin E as alpha tocopherol is more effective in a supplement than the artificial forms that either contain both the right and left handed isomers of instead of just the natural version or alpha tocopherol acetate is used. And, just as with carotenes, taking natural alpha tocopherol AND eating several foods that contain it works better. One of the reasons for this is that alpha tocopherol is only one of the EIGHT components of related compounds that you get in the foods that are high in alpha tocopherol. There are also beta, delta, and gamma tocopherols. And there are alpha, beta, delta, and gamma tocotrienols. Some leafy greens, olives, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, wheat germ, and avocados all have vitamin E. (These foods also have other health benefits.)

It’s controversial; but it may be that the best approach is to only take 200 to 250 iu of natural vitamin E and rely on these foods for more. Taking more than 200 iu of natural vitamin E, perhaps especially taking more than 200 iu of artificial vitamin, has been associated with problems that taking 200 iu of the natural alpha tocopherol and eating the foods has not.

3. With vitamin C, there is also some evidence the natural version is more effective. And many fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C. Those fruits and vegetables also have many other health benefits besides the vitamin C. So they are worth eating for those benefits alone. But larger doses of vitamin C supplements in the 500 to 2,000 mg a day range have been found to have more health benefits than the smaller amounts that are in a daily multivitamin.

4. Magnesium is an extremely important mineral that a very large number of people today are deficient in. In addition to eating the foods such as nuts and greens that have some, it’s desirable to take 200 mg a day for general health and 400 to as much as 800 a day if you need to prevent or help lower high blood pressure. Magnesium is important in over a dozen chemical reactions your body needs to do to stay in good health. This so much the case that I’ve read people who start taking it begin to feel healthier than they did before.

So, if you take these four supplements and eat the fruits, vegetables, and foods with health OK fats and oils listed in this post, you’ll get two benefits and many more.

You’ll feel better and get sick less. Your hearing will be better and stay OK longer.

And you may stand up better to the sun’s rays. You may also lose some fat weight if you substitute these foods for junky foods made with refined grains and for foods with added sugar.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Have trouble eating right? Help is arriving....

Today's post: Thursday, 2-19-2009

Fitness and fat loss author and expert, Jon Benson sent out a truly troubling and moving experience he went through recently in his regular info email.

He witnessed an older toddler with his mom. The toddler wanted some affection and reassurance, so he asked to be picked up and held. His mom was used to providing that by giving him candy, so he asked for that too. But it was clear that what he actually wanted and needed was to be picked up and held and to feel loved.

The problem was that, he’d eaten so many pieces of candy and so much junk food, he was so fat, it would have been like a major weight lift for his mom to pick him up and hold him. And she did have some candy, so that’s what she gave him. Ouch !!

Jon knew that this toddler had had already had too much candy and his health was already at so much risk from being that fat his mom was actually harming him. But the fact that his mom was harming him instead of giving him the love he actually wanted and needed—and that it was totally unnecessary -- touched Jon emotionally and made him angry.

He wanted his readers to forward his email to everyone they knew as a way to help this kind of tragedy stop.

The good news is that there are now forces in play that will help do this.

Even better, there are two ways they will make it easier for you to eat right and to take off or avoid gaining excess fat.

1. First, the facts that eating junky foods and desserts plus lack of exercise makes people fat and cause multiple diseases, all of which are expensive to treat, is now becoming much better known. Plus with so many more people becoming fat and getting these diseases, the problems caused by this are becoming impossible to ignore.

Seeing to it that people know these facts and eat dramatically less of these kinds of harmful foods may not lower their lifetime health care costs according to some analysts since people would live longer. But it’s also very clear that having people stop eating this junk and getting some regular exercise WOULD eliminate many medical costs; it would at least postpone medical costs; AND it would help ensure that people who are working can think well enough to do a good job, be at work instead of at the doctor’s office or hospital, and work well for more years.

The incoming health care reforms, whatever they do right or wrong in managing the costs and delivery of health care otherwise, are certain to include coaching people and even requiring people as part of their medical care to learn and follow this information.

It will take a few years. But this will increase the number of people who know how to stay healthy and who also do it. And, the more the people around you do this, the easier it will get for you as well.

Better yet, when the market for food begins rejecting junk, the food companies will gradually stop making money by making it and selling it to us. And, the more we will find health supporting food easily available to us.

2. But I agree with Jon. The current situation is unacceptable and needs to be changed as fast as possible. Yes. It’s changing already. But it would be desirable for it to change completely in ten years rather than changing partly in 40 years.

Here’s the good news. If you learn to eat right yourself and begin to do it most of the time and you keep exercising or figure out how to add exercise to your normal life and keep doing it, you can help this change happen sooner.

But there’s more. If you can help the people around you do this also and help some of the people who are making it hard to do reverse course and make it easier to do, you gain two huge benefits.

One is that the people you convince will be less likely to make a health supporting lifestyle hard for YOU to do.

The second one is even more powerful. The more you learn about how to live a health supporting lifestyle and the more you advocate it, the more it becomes a part of you and the easier it will be for YOU to live a health supporting lifestyle yourself.

To help this along, we will begin to add posts on things you can do to help the people around you live a health supporting lifestyle and/or STOP doing things that make it hard to do so.

Here are two of those subjects we will begin to post on more often.

A. Since some foods and some food components are really bad for people, some should be outlawed, such as hydrogenated oils. And the ones that are harmful but take longer to cause harm should be heavily taxed, such as high fructose corn syrup and refined grains.

B. Many workplaces today, serve these foods such as bagels, donuts, desserts, and soft drinks or make them easily available in vending machines on a daily basis and at company meetings and events. Then they complain about lower worker productivity and higher health care costs.

This is about as smart as having your employees build bonfires in rooms not designed for them and complaining about the costs of fires and fire insurance.

So, if you help us get junky food components banned or heavily taxed or help us get employers to provide health supporting workplaces instead of health-toxic ones, you’ll find it easier to eat right as an additional bonus.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why trans fats harm you & what they are in....

Today's post: Tuesday, 2-17-2009

In an online news article today Reuters online health news reports the results of a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in the February, 2009 issue.

1. The researchers found that in the 1,000 adults in the United States they surveyed in 2007, 92 % of the people had heard of trans fats (aka transfats) with 8 % who had not.

2. Of the 92%, ¾ of that group had heard that trans fats may raise the risk of heart disease. Since that is only 69 % of the entire group, that means that 31 % of the people surveyed had not yet heard that trans fats may raise the risk of heart disease.

3. Even worse, only 21 % could name three food sources for trans fats (aka transfats.)

That means that well over 79% of these people were at high risk of every kind of cardiovascular disease from heart attacks to strokes to erectile dysfunction to senility caused by vascular blockages to peripheral artery disease because they were under-informed.

A. The article pointed out that ingesting transfats increases your bad LDL cholesterol just like over-eating butter or fatty meats with high levels of saturated fats while at the same time lowering your protective HDL levels!

Research has found that ingesting transfats also increases your very dangerous triglyceride levels.

More than that, research has found that all three of these negative changes in these readings are because ingesting transfats increases the number of particles of small sized LDL that are literally so small they fit in between the molecular cracks in your blood vessel walls.

No may about this effect at all. This is a direct cause of cardiovascular and heart disease. This effect on your blood vessels is very much like pouring bacon grease down a small drain on a very cold day. A tiny bit on occasion is not a good idea. But regularly doing it, even a little each day, is a certain way to clog up the pipe.

That means that no one who knows this would ever knowingly buy or eat anything that contains transfats.

Why eat heart attack starter? Why eat any of it?

Unfortunately, because at first no one knew not to put transfats in food; and the hydrogenated vegetable oils that contain them increased the shelf life of the foods they were put in; AND were cheap to make, soon transfats were in a huge list of things. They even began appearing in place of butter and other fats that taste better but cost more and have a shorter shelf life.
B. It’s gradually changing. But transfats are still in most of the foods they were originally added to. That means almost everything you buy to eat that has any fat in it, may have transfats. You literally HAVE to know what most of what these foods are and, where possible, never eat them at all unless you read the label that shows they are OK by BOTH tests – zero transfats (aka trans fats) AND no partially or wholly hydrogenated oils at all on the label.

If, as at least 79 % of these people did not, you don’t know what transfats are in – and you don’t know how to find out, your health is at very high risk.

Anything that contains ANY hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils has transfats. And that’s so even if the label says it has zero transfats because it’s legal to label 0.49 grams per serving of transfat content as zero. So, since you may eat three servings a day of that food, you actually would ingest 1.47 grams of transfats if you were to ignore that the label also says it contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Of course if the label says it has transfats, it does. So to avoid ingesting transfats, you have avoid BOTH foods that show any transfat content other then zero AND you have to avoid any food that contains any partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

C. Here’s what transfats and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil have been found in.:

First, vegetable shortening is 100 % partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and virtually made out of transfats. (Unfortunately, this means that almost all commercially baked pies have transfats in their crust or have until just recently. And even many home cooked pie crusts also are still made with shortening.) To simplify your life, the best solution is to completely avoid vegetable shortening. That means to never eat pie crust or biscuits you don’t KNOW were made with butter or a tropical oil instead. (That’s why I only eat pie filling and NOT the pie crust if I’m given a piece of pie from a source I am not totally sure of.)

Similarly, almost all margarine should stay on the shelf for the same reason. Some special margarines have no transfats. But the only one of those I ever tasted that I could stand the taste of uses corn oil which is best avoided for its high omega 6 content. To simplify your life, the best solution is to completely avoid margarine.

Third, until recently, to avoid transfats has meant NEVER eating in the normal fast food places. They fried their meat, French fries, and other hot food in nothing but hydrogenated vegetable oils. Many still do.

Lastly, here’s a partial list of other foods that have had hydrogenated vegetable oils and transfats in them and often still do.:

Ice cream; bread; cake mix and pancake mix and frozen waffles; candy bars; peanut butter, including one brand of peanut butter sold to moms as being great for their kids!; virtually all commercially made desserts, baked goods, and snacks – including the potato chips still automatically handed out with sandwiches in restaurants. It also includes microwaved and movie theatre popcorn.

D. The only good news is that most of these foods are otherwise made with refined grains or other high glycemic and starchy ingredients that are best eaten very rarely if at all; and also tend to be heavily salted or contain a lot of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. So if you know to avoid those things, it helps you to avoid transfats too

But this still means that in almost every grocery store, and in too many of every kind of restaurant it can be very hard to find foods that do NOT have this heart attack starter in them.

In some places, partially hydrogenated oils and transfats have been banned. Until that ban is nationwide and rigorously enforced, you really have to be very careful.

Just two years ago less than 21 % of the people surveyed knew how to be careful while 31 % didn’t even know WHY to be careful. Even worse, most of those who knew why to be careful likely thought they were OK if they just cut back some. The evidence is that ingesting ANY hydrogenated vegetable oils, or heart attack starter, is harmful. And few people then knew that.

This post is to make sure that YOU know about how dangerous transfats and hydrogenated vegetable oils are AND how to avoid them.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Slash your grocery bill....

Today's post: Friday, 2-13-2009

Suppose you watched the checkout line at a large supermarket in almost any part of the United States.

Then suppose you could somehow see all the labels and all the packages that went into those shopping carts.

Do you realize that if you took out all of the things out of those carts that have nonfood ingredients and those that tend to cause health problems either right away or if too much is taken in for too long and subtracted ALL those items from the bill, the total would remove between 60 to 95 % of the dollar charges from the bill?

To be sure, for some things you remove, you’d need to add something back to replace things people were eating before which would move the cost back up some.

But you’d also remove so many things that do not need to be replaced, the new bill would still be between half and three fourths as much as it was before.

Most of you reading this blog regularly will have less bad things to remove because you know better because you’ve learned better here or elsewhere. But by being a bit more thorough in removing the bad stuff and by leaning toward a bit more of the less expensive good stuff, most people can still cut their grocery bills enough to make a large difference.

Here are some updates on two of our previous blog posts.:

From a recent post:

“Eating food, or drinking drinks, made of refined grains; excess salt; any hydrogenated vegetable oils; oils that are high in omega 3 oils; fat from animals fed grain because it's too high in fat, saturated fat, & omega 6 oils; artificial sweeteners high fructose corn syrup; and excessive sugar reliably makes the people who do it fat and sick.

If you don't buy that stuff to take home, you get immediate savings compared to most people today because 70 to 80 % of the grocery bill for many people contains nothing else.

Eating beans and lentils; vegetables; some naturally fed poultry if you can get it or very lean grain fed poultry with the skin removed; some beef fed only grass; and nuts, low mercury fish and seafood wild caught only & if you aren't allergic to them; using extra virgin olive oil and eating some fresh fruit and occasional whole grains and very occasionally eat sugar or foods it has been cooked into, tends to make you stay healthy and trim.

Plus if you don't buy the bad stuff, and you lean towards more beans and lentils than the more expensive animal protein foods on most days of the week, you can eat well and still spend less than many people now spend on junk. That means you can pay LESS for groceries now and much less for your medical bills later too.”

From: Save money on food & get healthier! Posted on Tuesday, 1-13-2009

….a surprising amount of Americans can SAVE MORE money on food while losing fat weight and improving their health….

There are three ways this is possible.

1. Stop buying ALL junk food and drinks.

Loosely speaking as little as half the edible or drinkable items in the average shopping cart today are real food by both item count and dollar cost.

If NONE of those edible or drinkable items that are not food or are extremely poor, bad for you foods and drinks, were not there at all, adding enough real foods to make up for that loss would only add back a tenth or a fifth of the money saved.

In fact, just yesterday, I read an ad for a local medical hypnotist who helps local people learn to eat right and actually do it. The woman in the ad who had lost something like 50 pounds relatively painlessly following his advice, simply stopped buying edible or drinkable items that are not food or are extremely poor, bad for you foods and drinks at the grocery store. And, since she has several kids at home, she reports saving “hundreds of dollars a month”!!

What to leave out to do likewise. (And, this list is incomplete.)

ALL soft drinks -- both regular and diet. All refined grain cereals. All commercial baked goods. All refined grain breads. All packaged snack foods. All jams, jellies, and syrups. All oils except extra virgin olive oil. All shortening. All margarine. All ice cream with any ingredients other than sugar, cream, and real flavorings or fruit. All candy & related items except dark chocolate with no transfats added.

If you are one of the families who have been spending in the neighborhood of $150 a week on this stuff, if you simply stop doing it, you can then much more easily afford some frozen or fresh vegetables, some fresh fruit, and some nonfat & lowfat dairy foods, whole grain foods, and even some wild caught fresh fish. You can even afford shelled pecans, walnuts, and almonds if you buy them in bulk or at Whole Foods Market stores. These, plus fresh fruit or veggies you actually like make great snacks. And, to go with veggies, guacamole also works & in reasonable moderation is actually good for you. (Extra virgin olive oil costs a bit more than the junk oils; but is much better for you. And, you’ll save enough to afford it and still be way ahead on your total bill.)

2. Buy healthier AND cheaper protein foods, particularly beans and lentils.

Most Americans have more meat than is good for them; & most of the meat they buy is fatty, grain fed, and is high in saturated fat and omega 6 oils.

Eggs, nonfat and lowfat dairy foods, old fashioned oatmeal, beans, and lentils, are dramatically cheaper sources of protein. And, they cost enough less even than the cheap, poor quality grain fed meats that you can then buy some beef fed only grass and wild caught fresh salmon occasionally and still be money ahead.

In addition, beans, lentils, and oatmeal are high in soluble fiber. So by substituting those for bacon and hamburger, you get read of saturated fat coming into your body and get rid of what’s already there. So, you may also be able to save money by no longer needing to take statin drugs to do that for you.

3. Buy canned, wild caught fish, less expensive protein food that’s actually good for you.

Canned fish is often as good for you as fresh fish. And, it is both dramatically cheaper and much more convenient to fix.

I’m too allergic to non-fresh fish to eat canned Sardines. And, they are a bit too stinky for my taste. But a serving of them has as much high quality protein as ham or steak. It costs a fifth as much, literally. And, instead of being high in saturated fat and omega 6 oils, sardines are high in the omega 3 oils that help you think well, avoid depression, and protect your heart.

It’s only safe to eat canned tuna about once a week since it does have some mercury in it. But many people like the taste. And, is has all the benefits of sardines except for the mercury and having a bit less omega 3 oils.

Canned Alaskan salmon is wild-caught. It does cost more than sardines; but per ounce is comparable or cheaper than tuna though sold in larger cans. It definitely costs less than fresh wild caught salmon. And, since it is precooked and not fresh it’s easy to serve, stores OK, and tastes a LOT better than sardines.

In summary, you can eat in a way that improves your health and costs LESS money!

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Faster Fat Loss results....

Today's post: Thursday, 2-12-2009

In recent posts, we’ve covered that progressive strength training and interval cardio burn calories for up to several hours after you do them. We’ve also covered that doing both, some of each every week, gets you the best health protection and the most improvement in key health markers.

Just, last time, on Tuesday, we posted that fat loss works best with lots of exercise each week. One way to achieve that is to do both progressive strength training and interval cardio each week. So, if you do both, progressive strength training and interval cardio, you tend to do more exercise total each week. In addition, you have a more varied exercise program with less chance of injury or overtraining by doing that rather than doing twice as much as of either one alone. That makes doing both more sustainable. That way you keep exercising long enough to get good fat loss results; and you’ll be able to keep off the fat!

So, for those reasons, it’s clear that doing both progressive strength training and interval cardio each week is ideal for good fat loss results.

Plus, if you put that much into your exercise program, you don’t want to sabotage it by eating junk. So you are a bit more likely to make an effort to eat right also. Clearly, if you do both progressive strength training and interval cardio AND eat better, you’ll get faster fat loss results.

Now doing both progressive strength training and interval cardio has been shown to actually help people eat less calories in a study. It’s even possible it may make your appetite easier to control too.

I just found this in a recent Early To Rise issue.:

Here’s the article.:

“This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, a free newsletter dedicated to making money, improving health and secrets to success. For a complimentary subscription, visit .”

An Exercise Combo for Faster Results

By Kelley Herring

Want to see faster weight-loss and fitness results? Do a combo!

A recent study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that men who combined aerobic exercise with weight training for 16 weeks ate significantly fewer calories compared to men who did aerobics or weight training alone or who did no exercise at all.

And of course, eating fewer calories and burning more fat makes for a leaner, fitter you.

The researchers believe that the combo of cardio and strength exercises works by improving blood levels of fats, glucose, amino acids, and satiety hormones.

Get on the fast track to health by coupling this exercise combo with a low-glycemic, clean protein diet packed with antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies to fuel your fat-burning machine.”

X* X* X* X* X* X*

So, getting both progressive strength training and interval cardio each week may also cause you to eat less, or fewer, calories too.

So, faster fat loss is almost guaranteed.

In addition, by doing both, you’ll be strong AND fit – not just one or the other.

Here’s a short summary of eating right for fastest and most permanent fat loss also.:

1. The first eating key seems to be a high moderate intake of health OK protein foods such as nuts, beans, lentils, wild caught fish and seafood from unpolluted water, lean poultry, beef fed only grass, and some nonfat and very low fat dairy seems to be the best. Adding more protein with whey protein supplements can also help. (Jarrow makes one with no Stevia. Now that, in addition to tasting like artificial marshmallows, Stevia has been found to have health issues, that’s important.) These protein foods are quite effective in turning off hunger and MUCH more effective than high glycemic carbs. So eating them not only helps you stay healthy and build muscle from your exercise, they keep you from getting too hungry and help you to continue to eat right.

2. The second eating key is to get a moderate amount of extra virgin olive oil, avocados, or nuts each day and a moderate of wild caught fish high in omega 3 oil each week and NOT eat any vegetable oils, including canola, that are high in omega 6 oils. That is best for your health. But of most importance, including the health OK fats, also has been found to make eating right sustainable. People who restrict all fats and oils, including these health OK ones, are not as healthy as people who try to do without them. But of most importance, the people who eat a bit less AND include health OK fats and oils, are dramatically more likely to continue eating right. So they are more likely to do it long enough to lose fat and to keep it off.

3. The third key is to eat an abundance and variety of non-starchy vegetables. They fill you up and help keep you from feeling too hungry to keep eating right. So again, they help you keep doing it long enough to get good results and to keep doing it. As a result you keep losing fat long enough to get good results and keep it off. Some fresh fruit each day provides good health results and fiber, but you need to be moderate in your intake. It’s also essential to NOT eat refined grain foods, excessive sugar, or any high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. Those things tend to cause your body to store fat and make you MORE hungry. So avoid them for fastest and best results.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Exercise and Fat Loss....

Today's post: Tuesday, 2-10-2009

Yesterday we posted the wonderful news that even one minute a day of really vigorous exercise has blood sugar lowering and other health benefits.

There is also evidence that vigorous exercise whether in a competitive sport such as playing soccer or basketball or in progressive strength training or in interval cardio or in faster dancing or in martial arts training done fast, all tend to help you lose fat best. This is because they boost your metabolism after you stop actually doing them, sometimes for several hours. Also, most of them, particularly progressive strength training, add to your muscle mass and how many more calories that muscle burns than fat. So, in both ways, such vigorous exercises are extra effective in helping you lose excess fat or prevent you from gaining it.

However, Weight Watchers and other experts in fat loss have found that to lose weight and keep it off, simply doing more total exercise each week is also important They found that it tends to take a lot more exercise to be effective in helping you lose fat than most people think. Exercise can help enormously in losing fat. And almost all the people who succeeded in losing fat and keeping it off exercised while they lost the fat and still exercise now. But for best results you do need a lot of exercise.

For example, today, Reuters online health news had a story titled:

“Thirty minutes a day of exercise? Better think 50”
They quote these two “updated guidelines issued by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).”

1. “…..evidence published after 1999 indicates that between 150 and 250 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity is effective in preventing weight gain greater than 3% in most adults but will provide "only modest" weight loss.”

2. “Greater amounts of weekly physical activity -- in the order of 250 minutes or more per week -- have been associated with "significant" weight loss, the ACSM notes. Overweight and obese adults will most likely lose more weight and keep it off with at least 250 minutes per week of exercise.”

And, the story adds this from those guidelines also.:

“The ACSM also recommends strength training as part of a health and fitness regimen. "Resistance training does not enhance weight loss but may increase fat-free mass and increase loss of fat ...and is associated with reductions in health risk," the writing committee notes.”

I find a more flexible guideline to be the number of calories directly burned by an exercise.

Walking is a “moderate intensity physical activity” at a 20 minute per mile pace which burns about 100 calories in that time. So, 150 to 250 minutes of walking per week translates into 750 to 1250 calories of exercise per week. That’s 7.5 to 12.5 miles of walking a week.

And, more than 250 minutes of walking is more than 1250 calories a week. That’s more than 12.5 miles a week of walking.

This correlates nicely with the research done years ago which found that the healthiest people were those who got 2,000 to 3500 calories a week of exercise. And, that even as little as 500 calories a week of exercise produces 40 % of the health benefits of doing 2,000 to 3500 calories a week of exercise.

In addition, many writers and fat loss experts have recommended about 3500 calories a week of exercise as ideal for the best results in losing fat and keeping it off.

You can get 3500 calories a week by walking 5 miles once a day. One person who was successful in losing well over 100 pounds did that or something very like it. Another person who lost over 100 pound to this day walks something like 3 miles a day for 2100 calories a week and does about 700 calories of strength training and 700 calories of interval training each week also. So his total is also about 3500 calories a week of exercise.

The second person is much stronger and more aerobically fit than the first one. But both were successful at losing over 100 pounds of fat. And, both have maintained that fat loss in part because they still eat right and in part because they still get 3500 calories a week of exercise.

(Note that while more exercise than 3500 calories a week does burn more calories, it also begins to be enough to produce overuse injuries and can overtire you or simply take too much of your time each week. So while something like 3850 calories a week of exercise may work well and be sustainable, 5600 calories of exercise a week may not be sustainable. That’s important since if you have much fat to lose, you need to plan on continuing to exercise both to do it long enough to lose all the fat and to keep off the fat you’ve lost after that.)

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Monday, February 09, 2009

30 SECONDS of vigorous exercise lowers blood sugar....

Today's post: Monday, 2-9-2009

If your blood sugar is too high, you may have heard that exercise will help lower it. You may even have heard that progressive strength training and interval cardio do the best job.

But if you haven’t been exercising and do NOT have an extra half an hour a day or the budget to go to a gym or buy home exercise equipment, you may have done nothing about it.

The same is true for the situation if you are fatter and heavier than you should be and don’t exercise. Even if you’ve not tested it, your blood sugar is likely to be too high. In addition, if you can lower it slightly if your blood sugar is even a bit high, you’ll tend to lose some fat.

What if you could exercise for only ONE minute a day at home on some days AND in only 2 weeks, you could lower your blood sugar level significantly?

You can do just that!

The report of some new research has been out for over a week. We even posted: “Minutes a WEEK of exercise can help....Thursday, 1-29-2009” a week before last Thursday based on our initial reading about it.

But I missed something. I’d read that the study had found that just minutes a WEEK of vigorous exercise had an astoundingly large beneficial effect on the health of the people in the study who did it. But what I missed was that in only 2 weeks, it lowered their blood sugar levels significantly.

So, when I saw the article in today’s Early to Rise email, I knew it was important enough to post immediately.

Here’s the article. As usual, my added comments follow it.

“This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, a free newsletter dedicated to making money, improving health and secrets to success. For a complimentary subscription, visit .”

Improve Your Metabolism in Just 2 Weeks!

By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS

It's hardly news that exercise is good for you. It can help keep weight off, build a bigger brain, improve mood, and lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. Many people are put off by the idea of exercise because of time constraints. But research continues to demonstrate that you don't have to spend an hour in the gym or on the track to get the significant health benefits.

Case in point: A new study out of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland found that high-intensity exercise for brief periods of time may help reduce the risk of diabetes.

In the study, published in the journal BMC Endocrine Disorders, researchers had young healthy male volunteers use exercise bikes to perform rigorous 30-second sprints. Over the course of two weeks, the subjects performed 30 of these sprints (about two or three a day) for a grand total of 15 minutes of exercise.

You read that right - 15 minutes. Over the course of two weeks.

And this low-volume, high-intensity training substantially improved both insulin action and blood sugar control.

"Doing a few intense muscle exercises, each lasting only about 30 seconds each, dramatically improves your metabolism in just two weeks," said James Timmons, a professor at the University and one of the researchers.

I've been an advocate of short, high-intensity training for years. Now, in addition to the many studies showing that this kind of exercise improves cardiovascular fitness and is an effective way to burn fat, the Heriot-Watt study shows that it may be an effective weapon in the fight against diabetes.

This finding is important, because it helps make the case that there's a lot you can do for your health in very little time. If, that is, you train smart. While walking 30 minutes a day is terrific, and weight training and spin classes and all the other ways to exercise still have their place, it's nice to know that you can still get a lot accomplished even if you have only a few minutes a day to work out.

[Ed. Note: If 15 minutes over the course of two weeks can help improve your health, there's no excuse to avoid exercise. For more advice about staying fit and healthy, check out health expert Jonny Bowden's site, ....]"

X* X* X* X* X* X* X*

Here are some other points and ideas on how to use this.

1. The people studied were relatively young and in good health. My guess is that older people or people who are in less robust health AND who have NOT been getting any exercise at all might need to build up to this kind of intensity rather than just doing it right off the bat.

But the evidence is that your body can get used to this kind of exercise if you build up to it over a period of time. And, if you do that and do such a short, 30 to 60 second session, of exercise even after you’ve built up to it, it is even safer.

2. To illustrate that, here are three at home exercises from our post on 1-29.:

In this case, they did an abbreviated interval cardio exercise by having the people do a 30 second session on an exercise bike while pedaling as fast as they could.

a) But one set a day in about a minute of as many fast pushups as you can do until you cannot do another will likely also work.

b) Or doing half squats as fast you can for one minute each time

c) or doing one set of as many crunches as you can in one minute would also likely work.

So, if all you can do now is 3 pushups where you do them where you only have your knees bent and touch, so called women’s push-ups, instead of regular push ups where you support yourself on your toes and keep your legs straight, do that the first time; then do them a bit faster the second time; and then do 4 the time after that; & keep improving. When you keep doing this even 3 days a week with a day off in between each time, you will gradually build up to being able to do 30 or 40 really fast. (Note that if you do get strong enough to do 40 really fast from the knee pushups, you’ll likely be strong enough to do at least 5 regular pushups and can then build up to 30 or 40 of those really fast for even better results.)

For best results do half squats (easier on your knees and easier to do fast than full squats) or crunches on the other days of the week. (Or you could do jumping jacks if you like them instead.) Then gradually build up to where you can do something like 98 in less than a minute.

It may take you a couple of months to build up to doing the kind of really vigorous and fast exercise that gets these really good results. But you’ll find you CAN do it. If you do it, you’ll get really good results too just like the people in this study. The evidence is that you can do it safely by gradually building up to it in this way.

BUT the truly HUGE news is that you can get significant results in just ONE minute a day. And, you can do it at home. No extra money or gym needed—or travel time to a gym either.

If you can do more once you get used to exercising or you already have a walking program or do less intense strength training at a gym twice a week, that’s great as it would be if you added it later.

But by adding just ONE exercise for ONE minute or even a bit less at least 4 days a week, you can get extraordinary results.

Think about it. You can do that much even if you don’t have time for more.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

How omega 6 oils and sugar make you sick....

Today's post: Friday, 2-6-2009

If you’ve read our posts for awhile now, you already know we recommend taking omega 3 oil supplements and eating wild caught fish not too high in mercury -- 2 or three times a week so you have an adequate omega 3 oil intake. Doing so has abundant health benefits from lowering your triglycerides to protect your heart to making you feel better and improving your personal relationships by helping prevent or turn off mild depression and excess irritability.

You’ve also read we suggest you NOT ingest oils high in omega 6 such as corn, soy, safflower, canola, etc. And, we also recommend NOT eating refined grains and minimizing whole grain foods in part to avoid their excessive omega 6 oils. We also recommend minimizing the animal fat you eat from animals fed grain instead of their natural foods in part because doing so avoids the high level of omega 6 oils in the meat of animals fed grains.

Lastly, we recommend when you want to use an oil, you use primarily extra virgin olive oil.

If do all three, you increase your omega 3 oils and lower your omega 6 oils. Doing these 3 things also has other health benefits. By moving your ratio of omega 3 oils from the far too little most people get and minimizing the excessive omega 6 oils most people get, the evidence shows you will have far better health.

Similarly, you’ve read that we recommend you ingest NO transfats including doing so by NEVER buying or ingesting anything with hydrogenated vegetable oils in it or on its label; ingest NO high fructose corn syrup; stop eating refined grains and things made from them; and being quite moderate in eating sugar or foods that contain it.

We still do! Please follow these recommendations. You’ll be far less fat; & the list of diseases and avoidable medical costs you’ll avoid is LONG.

But what if we and the other up to date health experts who have been saying similar things haven’t convinced you yet or you haven’t yet begun to follow these recommendations?

Please read this article from today’s TotalHealthBreakthroughs email. Dr Lundell does a superb job of explaining why to do so and how not doing so is so much more harmful to you than you might have imagined.

My title for the article is: HOW too much omega 6 & sugars cause disease.

Here’s the article.:

"This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise's Total Health Breakthroughs, offering alternative solutions for mind, body and soul. For a complimentary subscription,

Heart Surgeon Admits Huge Mistake!

By Dwight Lundell, MD


Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. Let's say you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.

Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same. I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.

While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed with omega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.

How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?

Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.

When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.

What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.

While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator -- inflammation in their arteries.

Let's get back to the sweet roll. That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6's are essential --they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell -- they must be in the correct balance with omega-3's.

If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation. Today's mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That's a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today's food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.

To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and finally, Alzheimer's disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.

There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.

There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein. Choose carbohydrates that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut down on or eliminate inflammation-causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them. One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef.

Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labeled polyunsaturated. Forget the "science" that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.

The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.

What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Dwight Lundell is the past Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital, Mesa, AZ. His private practice, Cardiac Care Center was in Mesa, AZ. Recently Dr. Lundell left surgery to focus on the nutritional treatment of heart disease. He is the founder of Healthy Humans Foundation that promotes human health with a focus on helping large corporations promote wellness. He is the author of The Cure for Heart Disease and The Great Cholesterol Lie…..]”

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A. His article is brilliant at how well it describes what eating refined grains, high fructose corn syrup, and too much sugar while eating too little fiber and health OK proteins and health OK oils does too you.

“Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.

When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.“

That means if you eat this stuff and particularly if you eat a lot of it every day, you’ll tend to get insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, very high blood sugar levels – AND you’ll get fat!

“If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation. Today's mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from C. That's a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today's food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.

To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and finally, Alzheimer's disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated. “

Dr Lundell also makes it crystal clear why to get plenty of omega 3 oils and minimize omega 6 oils.

B. But he didn’t add that we know that the food the people we are descended from ate a diet that was bout 1:1 or equal amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 oils and that went on for at least a million years and didn’t stop until about 10,000 years ago. He does point out that it’s only in the last 60 years that we’ve adopted eating patterns that produce “15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6.”

That mean our bodies aren’t designed to run on junk food. They won’t operate as well, stay running well, or last as long unless we eat the food our body was adapted and designed by over a million years of evolution to eat.

C. Not getting the exercise people got over 10,000 years ago is not quite as critical because the exercise demands varied. But not getting the exercise most people got until 60 years ago IS critical. Virtually no one got that less than that for the over a million years before that.

Current research backs this up. It turns out that regular exercise, particularly strength training and interval cardio tends to prevent or reverse the insulin resistance Dr Lundell describes. And, since such regular exercise also has been tested to lower the systemic inflammation he describes, NEVER getting regular exercise, makes everything he describes much worse.

So the way to good health or much better health is simple.:

Get abundant omega 3 oils every week; stop ingesting junk with excessive fast acting carbs and excessive omega 6 oils; and get regular exercise each week.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Vitamin D prevents cognitive decline too....….

Today's post: Thursday, 2-5-2009

There still is a book called SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life by Steven G. Pratt. MD et al.

Other than the soy foods section which is likely quite wrong according to many sources, this is otherwise a great book with superb advice. There are also other legitimate SuperFood candidates he leaves out.

But these foods either support your health so well OR in so many important ways all at once, it’s clear they deserve to be called SuperFoods.

It now looks as if vitamin D3 not only deserves the title of SuperNutrient, it may even qualify to be Number ONE in that category!

Yesterday, Weds, 2-4-2009, in the Early to Rise email, for its health article of the day, they had an article that listed just a few of the documented benefits we now know an intake of 2,000 iu a day or a bit more of vitamin D3 each day has and then added the incredibly good news that this intake of Vitamin D3 help prevent mental decline too!

Here’s the article.: (I’ll add my comments after it as I often do.)

“This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, a free newsletter dedicated to making money, improving health and secrets to success. For a complimentary subscription, visit .”

Keep Your Brain Young with This Vitamin

By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS

If you've been reading ETR for any length of time, you probably already know at least a half-dozen reasons why you should be taking a vitamin D supplement. Bone health. Mood improvement. Physical performance. Vitamin D's demonstrated anti-cancer effects. And if all that weren't enough, a new study adds another benefit: cognitive performance.

In the study, to be published in the Journal of Geriatric Psychology and Neurology, researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan report an association between the risk of cognitive impairment in older folks and low levels of vitamin D.

More than 1,750 men and women 65 years or older were given neurocognitive tests. The testing revealed that 212 of the participants had cognitive impairment. The researchers then compared the vitamin D levels of those without cognitive impairment to those with cognitive impairment - and found that the risk of impairment significantly increased as vitamin D levels declined.

In fact, participants whose vitamin D levels were in the lowest 25 percent of the group had a whopping 2.28 times greater risk of cognitive impairment than those whose levels were in the top 25 percent. Since cognitive impairment is a major risk factor for developing dementia, anything you can do to lower your risk can help protect your brain for the long haul.

The best way to get adequate levels of vitamin D is through sun exposure. That means getting outside for about 10 to 20 minutes a day, three times a week - more often in the winter. I also personally recommend vitamin D supplements, about 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily. You can find vitamin D supplements at any health food store, even at Walmart.

[Ed. Note: For more information about natural methods that can improve your health - and help keep your weight down - check out nutrition expert Jonny Bowden's website,

Sunshine and vitamin D not only contribute to keeping your brain young, they can have a positive effect on everything from cancer and diabetes to athletic performance and neonatal health…..]”

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I found that did get to his website OK.

I’ve only a few points to add.

1. In case you didn’t know it already, the mood improvement of taking vitamin D3 (or taking even 20 minute walks near Noon time if you have time and a safe place to walk) in the winter is to combat the lack of vitamin D from sun exposure during the rest of the day. Taking 2,000 iu or 3,000 iu or a bit more vitamin D3 daily seems to help prevent or nearly eliminate SAD, a kind of depression cause by this lack of sunlight. So taking vitamin D3 for mood improvement works best during the darker days in Winter.

2. Second, since the old RDA for vitamin D was 400 iu, if that’s all you knew, you’d think that 2,000 to 3,000 or even 5,000 iu of vitamin D3 is a lot. So it’s extremely important to know that it’s been found that your body will use 2,000 to 3,000 iu of vitamin D each day if it’s available and that your body will make something like 15,000 to 20,000 iu a day from sun exposure during the summer if you are outside much at all. That means that 2,000 to 5,000 iu of vitamin D3 daily as a supplement, particularly in the 2,000 to 3,600 iu range is actually quite reasonable. In addition, you might well wonder if your body prefers to use 2,000 to 3,000 iu vitamin D each day if it’s available if your body might not be a bit short on less. The research is in fact beginning to show that for best health, on multiple factors, your body very probably DOES need 2,000 to 3,000 iu of D3 a day. To put it bluntly, that means any RDA, for vitamin D of less than 2,000 iu a day is too low and based on outdated information.

3. Third, the same immune system boost from vitamin D that is thought to be responsible for it helping to prevent ALL cancers also will help you avoid getting colds and flu in the winter and from getting worse things such as pneumonia, secondary chest infections from colds or flu, and, even according to one study I saw, tuberculosis if you are exposed to it.

So to me that means that anyone who knows the current info on vitamin D and who wants to be and to stay in good health should be taking at least 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3. When a bottle of 100 capsules of 1,000 iu of vitamin D3 only costs about $6, it is easily affordable.

4. Lastly, it IS possible that some of the good effects attributed to vitamin D are from the fact that being outside in pleasant natural surroundings or exercising regularly while outside.

So, don’t stop at just taking vitamin D. Regular exercise has an even longer and overlapping health benefits list than vitamin D. As we’ve posted on not that long ago, regular exercise prevents mental and cognitive decline too and in multiple ways. By all means do regular exercise too – even if it’s inside.

Lastly, there was a study that found that even in less affluent neighborhoods, people who live near parks live longer and have better health than people who don’t. So if you live near a park that is safe to visit, go walk around it occasionally. You’ll get some exercise, may relive some stress, and if you do it in daylight, you’ll get some extra vitamin D too.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Save money & live longer – avoid falls….

Today's post: Tuesday, 2-3-2009

A surprising number of older people are injured by falling down.

Of even more importance the medical bills from this damage cost millions of dollars a year; and many of the people who fall wind up with limited mobility and shorter lives.

But it’s close to 100 % preventable.

1. Preventing heart disease and cardiovascular disease prevents falls. If the circulation to your inner ear that you use to balance shuts off too much from cardiovascular disease, your sense of balance can leave you. So if you follow the practices to avoid heart disease, you also prevent falls from this cause.

2. If your bones in your legs or hips break, you can fall even if your sense of balance is still good. So if you keep your bones strong, you also prevent falls from lack of bone strength.

3. If your legs and core balance muscles are too weak, you can fail to recover from a sudden change in position even if your sense of balance is not too bad. Even a modest amount of strength training for your legs, back, and abdominal muscles will avoid you becoming that weak.

4. If you are out of practice at balancing and moving your feet to “catch yourself” if you get thrown out of balance, you can fall. Some kinds of balance practice have been shown to prevent falls.

Here are more details & solutions for these four potential problem areas.

1. Eat right and exercise regularly since a low glycemic diet with lots of vegetables and lean or plant protein and wild caught fish, omega 3 supplements, and extra virgin olive oil – and moderate amounts of red wine -- tends to keep your HDL high; your LDL and triglycerides and CRP inflammation low. So does regular exercise & NOT ingesting hydrogenated oils, refined grains, starchy foods, & avoiding excessive sugar AND drinking NO soft drinks of any kind.

The best exercise program for heart health combines some progressive strength training, some interval cardio, and some other kind of activity, such as gardening, yard work, or walking each week. Even 15 minutes a day of those kinds of exercise at home can do wonders.

That kind of exercise increases your HDL & lowers triglycerides which sharply lowers the small particle LDL that directly causes heart disease. Plus it lowers CRP inflammation and tends to prevent or turn off the insulin resistance that causes type 2 diabetes and excessively high blood sugar. Those two effects also prevent cardiovascular disease.

Get your key blood indicators tested so you know ahead of time if you are at risk and need to do better in this area.

Your HDL should be 40 or higher for sure. And well above 60 is better. Your LDL should be 129 or less and about 100 or somewhat less is better. Your triglycerides should be 150 or less for sure. And well under 100 is better. I’ve read your CRP test should be about 1.0 and not higher. And I suspect under 1.0 is better.

Similarly, your fasting blood sugar should be 99 or less and 89 or a bit less is better; & your HBA1C should be 5.8 or less. And under 5.5 is better.

Niacin; and choline; and eating berries and nuts; and grape seed extract; increase HDL. Choline is in egg yolk and wheat germ but it may be wise to eat those in moderation and take lecithin, which contains choline, or choline supplements as well. (Olive oil lowers LDL but leaves your HDL alone while high omega 6 oils such as corn and soy and canola tend to lower HDL.)

Niacin; and sterol supplements such as beta sitosterol and, for men, saw palmetto, lower LDL cholesterol.

Vitamin E and other antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C help prevent your LDL from oxidizing and keep your CRP inflammation low.

Wild caught fish, omega 3 supplements, and avoiding the fat of grain feed animals and high omega 6 oils such as corn oil helps lower triglycerides and CRP inflammation.

2. Eating right and getting the kind of exercise we just described tends to keep your bones strong. Strength training; interval cardio that uses your legs; consuming food high in calcium such as nonfat and very lowfat dairy products and beans and greens works better than calcium supplements; taking 2,000 iu or more a day of vitamin D; & NOT drinking soft drinks, particularly colas which leach out calcium due to excess phosphorous content – ALL help to keep your bones strong.

The drugs to improve weakened bones have been found to have health damaging side effects and have a death rate themselves.

So, practicing the good health habits above BEFORE your bones get weak is critical.

3. If you do some leg exercises as part of your strength training each week, your legs will be strong enough to help you avoid falls. Push ups strengthen your abdominal muscles and back in addition to your arms and chest because your abdominal muscles and back have to hold your body in a straight line while you do the push ups. Doing those plus some other abdominal exercises each week, will keep your core muscles strong.

4. For exercises that work directly on your balance, I believe in doing them where you are in a position to easily grab something solid and keeping your eyes open while you are doing them. (To do otherwise is to risk having your preventative exercises causing you to fall. So I don’t recommend that. )

An exercise I do is to stand in front of the mirror in our bathroom and do partial squats or kneebends on one leg. I’ve gotten good enough at moving my other leg, head and moving the foot I’m standing on that I can do 98 for each leg without having to catch myself even once with my hand or other leg most of the time. This also is a good strengthening exercise as well. But you can start with 3 for each leg and having to catch yourself on each one and improve from there.

If you like dancing, most kinds are excellent in giving you balance practice in a large variety of positions and using your feet well to balance yourself quickly. So that’s another good choice.

And, some senior centers are now getting in specialty balance training equipment that works. My suggestion is not to wait on using that but do something at home right away; and to do some of the at home exercises before you use it if you do get the opportunity so you do at least moderately well when you do use it.

So, if you do all four of these, your chances of falling go down a lot.

Lastly, stay inside or walk with extreme care in icy weather. Even people who are healthy in every way have been hurt by falls on icy places.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Save money on YOUR medical bills....

Today's post: Monday, 2-2-2009

A. NPR recently had an article debating whether or not the likely emphasis on good health habits in the new Obama administration will actually cut health care costs.

There are two arguments that it won’t. The one in this piece was that the programs to teach people how to prevent expensive diseases would cost more than it would save.

That’s a reasonable question to ask if you don’t know the magnitude of the problem or how easy it is to get about half the job done.

NPR makes the point that over 70 percent of ALL medical expenses are spent to treat a small number of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, & depression.

That’s a truly huge amount of money. And these diseases are about 90 % preventable with about 70 % of that from relatively simple good health habits. Doing the math, .7 X .9 X .7 shows that 44.1 % of ALL health care costs we now spend on people in middle age and earlier old age, are totally preventable by following relatively simple good health habits.

(The other 20 % of possible prevention, taking the right supplements, is desirable, I believe, since even though that costs money, it helps keep people well and productive even if you break even on costs over a lifetime. And, I’d much rather simply stay well than get sick and damaged and made less able by something I could have prevented even if the prevention costs as much as the treatment to keep from getting sicker after the fact.)

But the point is that nearly HALF of ALL the health care money we now spend is completely avoidable at virtually no cost by having people know to adopt relatively simple good health habits & doing so.

While this is being debated as national health policy, the information is in. YOU need NOT wait to use it to lower YOUR medical costs and prevent yourself from suffering or early death.

B. The 3 rules to get that done are.:

1. Don’t smoke; and avoid second hand smoke as if it was a mild, but cumulatively deadly poison gas. And, if you still smoke, NEVER use a lighter; ONLY use matches.

(If you smoke and quit, you save almost as much by not buying cigarettes as you do by not having to pay the resulting extra medical bills. So the savings start immediately.)

2. Get some exercise each week.

Do this starting right away even if you only do a single vigorous exercise for ONE minute a day at home and some extra walking each week, ideally reaching about 5 miles or one hundred minutes or a bit less each week. And, to begin with even one ten minute walk each week and three days each where you do a single vigorous exercise at home for one minute will get you started.

3. Eat right.

Eating food, or drinking drinks, made of refined grains; excess salt; any hydrogenated vegetable oils; oils that are high in omega 3 oils; fat from animals fed grain because it’s too high in fat, saturated fat, & omega 6 oils; artificial sweeteners high fructose corn syrup; and excessive sugar reliably makes the people who do it fat and sick.

If you don’t buy that stuff to take home, you get immediate savings compared to most people today because 70 to 80 % of the grocery bill for many people contains nothing else.

Eating beans and lentils; vegetables; some naturally fed poultry if you can get it or very lean grain fed poultry with the skin removed; some beef fed only grass; and nuts, low mercury fish and seafood wild caught only & if you aren’t allergic to them; using extra virgin olive oil and eating some fresh fruit and occasional whole grains and very occasionally eat sugar or foods it has been cooked into, tends to make you stay healthy and trim.

Plus if you don’t buy the bad stuff, and you lean towards more beans and lentils than the more expensive animal protein foods on most days of the week, you can eat well and still spend less than many people now spend on junk. That means you can pay LESS for groceries now and much less for your medical bills later too.

C. This works. And, it works FAST.

To be sure, fit people who have lost or never had excess fat are healthier than fat people who exercise regularly. BUT fat people who exercise are MUCH healthier than fat people who do NO regular exercise. And, fat people who exercise are even healthier than people who are of “normal” weight. (Recent studies have found that than people who are of “normal” weight are actually lightly muscled and fat INSIDE where it doesn’t show.)

Even better, if you are fatter than you should be, as long as you start a bit easy and build up slowly, you start to get improved health virtually as soon as you start exercising.

And, if you stop ingesting junk; begin eating real foods that support your health; and begin regular exercise, there’s an excellent chance you’ll lose enough fat to lose about 7% of your bodyweight with no further effort. It may take a few months; but if you stay with good health habits, it’s permanent.

But of extreme importance, that may get you over half the health protection all by itself.

Doctors at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center in Houston found that even a 6.5 % weight loss from adopting good health habits is extremely effective in improving a person’s health and protecting him or her from disease.

A week ago my NewsMax email had these two quotes.

“ “Obesity appears to be the central component of the metabolic syndrome. Our study (results) have shown that weight loss of as little as 6.5 percent in individuals with the disease results in substantial reductions in blood pressure, glucose, triglycerides and total cholesterol, all factors that lead to heart disease,” said Christie Ballantyne, M.D., director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center and Baylor College of Medicine. “These impressive results occur early in the weight loss, well before individuals even begin to approach their ideal body weight.” “

I’ve also read similar information from other sources before.

So if you weigh 200 pounds now & lose 13 pounds or more by just adapting good health habits, or you weigh 160 pounds now and lose 10 & half pounds or more the by just adapting good health habits, particularly totally discontinuing all ingesting of the really bad stuff, you’ll save money now and a LOT of money on your medical bills later.

Here’s a hint on how to make that actually happen.

“If you own it, you’ll eat it.” was a headline today online on the Health Day health news on Yahoo News. The study referred to found that people who would never take home food past it’s due date or food with mold growing on it from the store would tend to minimize the problems with it and eat it anyway, if they already had it at home.

The reason quoted was that people’s perceptions of things usually change to a more favorable opinion once they own something.

But there are two other reasons they missed. If you already own it, you paid for it already. People hate to through out something they’ll have to pay more to replace. And, if you go the kitchen for something to eat, you’re likely hungry and want to eat NOW, not after an extra trip to the store.

But each of these three reasons can sabotage you when you begin to stop eating bad for you foods too.

So, one weekend read all the labels and find everything in your kitchen from vegetable shortening to margarine to peanut butter to ketchup to jam to snacks or commercial desserts, etc and ALL soft drinks and list it if you need to get a health OK substitute or simply toss it if you don’t.

Then go buy the substitutes. And when you come home, toss the bad for you stuff you just got a health OK substitute for.

For peanut butter where the one you have has high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and excessive salt now. By almond butter at Whole Foods or buy Adams or Laura Scudders peanut butter that only has peanuts or peanuts and salt.

For jam that has high fructose corn syrup, get conserves of the same fruit with no sugar added at Whole Foods or No Sugar Added apple sauce or real maple syrup or honey or one of the few jams with real sugar or make your own jam with no sugar added. Then mostly use one of the so sugar options or eat a piece of whole fruit instead.

Get extra virgin olive oil and some small amount of a good quality real butter to substitute for corn oil, peanut oil, soy oil, shortening, margarine, and canola oil. Then use the olive oil mostly and only occasionally have food with real butter.

Buy coffee, tea, and green tea to replace soft drinks with caffeine.

Buy Food for Life, “Biblical” breads or other breads only made from sprouted whole grains to replace breads where the first or only ingredient is wheat flour. “Wheat flour” is refined grain flour only and a bread made out of it is a refined grain food even if the bread has had brown coloring added and has wheat berries or sesame seeds on the crust so it looks “healthy.”

And be sure to get some raw or dry roasted nuts if you aren’t allergic. (Whole Foods is a good source.)

Likewise get some raw or frozen vegetables with no salt or sauce added and some real fresh fruit you actually like to eat.

Remember, if you own it, and it’s in your kitchen when you are hungry, you’ll eat it.

So, toss the stuff that will make you sick and replace with the real foods that will keep you well and trim.

Your grocery bill will be the same or less. But your health will be better and your medical bills will be a lot less. As a nice bonus, you’ll also be a LOT less fat.

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