Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More news about being fat is risky for your heart....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 12-29-2009

Last Tuesday, 12-22, AFP online health news had this headline.:

“New study sharpens focus on problems of obesity .”

This study found that being too fat was more closely linked to cardiovascular disease – & dying from it -- than had previously been estimated.

They used the “body mass index” called BMI for short, of 30.0 or more to be indicative of being obese or definitely too fat. (Since men who are muscular can get such readings without being fat, I think the waist measurement is more accurate as we posted on recently. But, to be fair, probably 99% of people with BMI readings of 30.0 or more are indeed too fat.)

You can go online and enter BMI into a search engine to find calculators and tables to simplify measuring your BMI. (With a tape measure and no math or going online you can measure your waist. If you are a woman, and your waist is 35.0 inches or more or you are a man and your waist is 40.0 inches or more, that’s usually about equal to a BMI of 30.0 or more. And, it is more indicative of risk & being too fat since your BMI may still be a bit under 30.0.)

Researchers from Britain's University of Bristol and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden measured BMI of 30.0 or more in over a million pairs of Swedish people, using mother & sons and fathers & sons -- over a 50 year time period.

They found a particularly strong link between having a BMI of over 30.0 & dying of cardiovascular disease -- which they said was "substantially underestimated" by the research they had seen previously.

There are four reasons for this connection in my view.

1. People who eat many foods made from refined grains and drink soft drinks and eat a lot of sugar or high fructose corn syrup – as all too many people all over the world have begun to do – tend to be much fatter than people who eat nonstarchy vegetables, plant protein foods other than grains such as mushrooms, nuts, and beans &/or eggs and meat from naturally raised animals or wild caught & unpolluted fish and seafood.

But ingesting a lot refined grains, soft drinks, & sugar or high fructose corn syrup also directly causes insulin resistance, high insulin levels, and excessively high blood sugar including type 2 diabetes. These effects not only fatten the people who do this, eating this way also directly causes damage to the surface of your blood vessels that in turn triggers you developing heart disease.

Some ideas:

If you drink 3 soft drinks a day, one study found that of your excess fat, about 45 pounds of it is from that source alone. Suppose you switched to one cup of tea or green tea with no milk or sugar and two glasses of low sodium V8. The evidence is that after about a year, if you do this every day and keep doing it & drink no more soft drinks, you will be 45 pounds less fat even if you do nothing else! (And, if you have high blood pressure, it may well improve enough you will no longer need to take drugs for it.)

Real fruit juice is good for you in its nutritional value. But if you switch every other day to drinking real, 100 % cranberry juice or low sodium V8 instead of orange, grape, or apple juice, you will get a similar though smaller effect.

One thing I’ve found also works well is to ask for an extra serving of vegetables instead of rice or potatoes when I eat in restaurants. I still enjoy the main dish and the ambiance and the company – and I’m full when I’m done. But I avoid the starch and starchy grains by doing this. And, I increase the number of vegetables I ate that day.

If you make over virtually all your eating and drinking habits with similar strategies and get used to eating right, you can lose a LOT of fat without eating that much less or becoming more hungry.

And, the increased phytonutrients and other protective compounds you get that you weren’t getting before not only remove your excess fat, they do things like lowering your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and increasing your HDL, which directly tends to protect you from cardiovascular disease AND cancer AND Alzheimer’s disease AND type 2 diabetes.

Small wonder the people who eat differently and are fatter, get more heart disease and fatal heart attacks.

2. Regular exercise, even moderate kinds like walking, increase your muscles, their weight, and the amount of calories your body burns each week both from the exercise directly and from the increased calories used by your added muscle the rest of the time. Since strength training does this unusually well; & both strength training and vigorous interval cardio cause your body to burn extra calories for up to several hours after you do them, those two kinds of exercise are extremely helpful in helping you lose excess fat & keep it off.

Not only that, the fat that exercise removes best is the hidden, visceral fat that tends to be most harmful to your heart and that even normal weight people who don’t exercise have too much of. In addition, vigorous exercise directly releases growth hormone & slows your rate of aging; it lowers high blood sugar as measured by your HBA1C, it improves the resilience of your blood vessels and increases your circulation -- & it even grows new brain cells.

In short & in addition to strongly helping prevent you from getting or staying fat, such exercise directly protects your heart.

3. The excess fat itself is metabolically active and tends to produce changes in your blood that harm your heart even after you ate badly & didn’t exercise enough to gain it.

You can take supplements such as niacin that we posted on yesterday, sterol supplements, and chromium polynicotinate, and alpha lipoic acid, and omega 3 supplements to combat these effects. And if you are too fat, I think you should consider doing all of the above for this reason.

You can even roll the dice on side effects by taking statins. But if you do that, be sure to take CoQ10 or the ubiquinol it changes into; & get the regular liver tests and stop taking them if you develop bad side effects.

But these methods work massively better to prevent heart disease &/or only do so enough to save you from dying of heart disease if you learn to eat right and do regular exercise. The reason is that eating right and doing regular exercise act on the causes of the problems.

4. The fourth reason that being too fat goes with the rate of fatal heart disease so well is that people who are optimistic, proactive, and well informed are less likely to get fat and more successful in losing it if they gain it AND in taking intelligent steps to protect their health.

They’ll try out switching from soft drinks to tea or coffee or low sodium vegetable juice or cranberry juice.

They’ll get their HDL, LDL, triglycerides, fasting glucose, and HBA1C tested from time to time.

They’ll figure out how to add exercise each week, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day at home.

People who are too pessimistic, ignorant, and unwilling to try new things or to learn how to protect themselves tend to get and stay fat and then suffer the consequences.

The truly frightening news that it will cause even more severe economic hardship for everyone if the unnecessarily high health care costs from people not learning and acting on this information keep getting worse.

Demographic trends are extremely predictive unless very powerfully changed on a large scale. So, since the number of fat and sedentary kids is at record levels and still increasing, we may be in for some horrible economic news in another 10 to 30 years because of such increases in health care costs.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

More good news about niacin....

Today's Post: Monday, 12-28-2009

Last Weds, 12-23, Reuters online health news had this headline.:

“ "Good" cholesterol less protective with diabetes “

A German study found that HDL in most diabetic people was “substantially” less protective than in normal people. (That’s one of the many reasons diabetic people have more risk of heart disease and heart attacks.)

The GOOD news was that by giving some of the diabetics niacin, which increases HDL levels, apparently not only increased the HDL levels in the diabetics who took it; but in these diabetics it also apparently restored their HDL they already had to full potency.

The story noted that “HDL lowers heart risks because it clears "bad" low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, away from arteries” -- AND some studies found, “HDL protects arteries by promoting cell healing and repair.”

In this study, the researchers found the protective benefits on blood vessels were "substantially impaired" in the HDL from the diabetics they studied.

Then they gave half the diabetics what sounds like high enough levels of niacin to make quite a difference in their HDL, LDL, & triglycerides.

After 3 months, the diabetics who got the niacin did have increased HDL levels, AND the lab testing found the protective functions of HDL were restored and the diabetics had improved vascular function too.

This study has some interesting conclusions.

1. It shows that niacin is unusually protective for the health of your heart and blood vessels. That has already been shown. Increasing HDL while lowering LDL AND triglycerides as niacin does will do it. (So will regular exercise AND also eating less junky fats and sugars and high glycemic foods. That combination also tends to turn down or turn off diabetes.)

2. But this study also found that it was critically important for diabetics to get niacin if they wanted to avoid cardiovascular disease. The even better news is that the diabetics who got the niacin, were about as well protected as non-diabetic people. Given how many people today have type 2 diabetes or too high blood sugar almost that bad, this is VERY important news.

3. Since smokers have similar problems because smoking or exposure to second hand smoke also lowers HDL levels and makes what remains less protective, it may be that having smokers and recently quit smokers who are recovering their health take niacin may also at least partly protect them from heart attacks.

4. The results of this study also suggest it may be even more important for heart health to help people who have bad eating and exercise habits and who have blood sugar levels approaching the diabetic range to learn to eat better and begin regular exercise than doctors have previously known.

(You have to measure the levels of sugar in your blood to see if this is happening to you. So, get your fasting glucose and HBA1C tested.

If your fasting glucose is 100 or more or your HBA1C is 5.8 or 5.9, you should take action immediately.

If you don’t, you may soon be over 120 on fasting glucose and 6.0 on your HB1C and become diabetic with all the health problems and added medical costs that come with that.)

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New way to avoid being in a car accident....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 12-22-2009

You may know that one way to avoid being in a car accident is to make a strong effort to NOT be in your car driving between 10 PM and 3 AM.

The reason for that is the percentage of other drivers on the road who are impaired by alcohol goes up well above the daytime or early evening level. The percentage goes up the later you get in the evening after 10 & peaks between about midnight and 2:30 AM.

So, try to get home before 10 PM. And, be more careful of driving defensively after that time if you drive then. Be aware that instead of coming to a stop at a stop light where you have the green light, someone who is at 2 or 3 times the limit enforced by the police may forget to notice the light or no longer be awake! That means that during those hours, you need to realize that a car that looks like it’s not braking in response to a red light may well have a driver who is too blotto to do any braking & won’t stop!

So, if you don’t drive then and are unusually careful when you do when you must do so, you can avoid many serious accidents.

New Year’s Eve is coming up & is a good time to use this information. Stay home or go to a party at a hotel where you can simply go to your room after the party, etc. These are much safer choices than driving home after midnight on New Year’s Eve.

But what if people drove like that all day and every day? !

That would make driving unusually hazardous. And, when people who you care about are driving when you aren’t there, it would be quite a worry that they would get home uninjured and with their or your car intact.

Unfortunately, that is beginning to happen now.

To be fair, many people who have to drive and use their cell phones often in their work and who are normally safe drivers have learned to be about as safe when doing so as when they aren’t on their phone.

That’s why I wasn’t a fan of laws against using your cell phone while driving.

However, there are two kinds of drivers who are as unsafe to have around as blotto level drunks, people with 0.20 levels of alcohol in their blood or more, the more than 7 drinks at a time crowd.

1. Some people, who likely aren’t that safe a driver without a cell phone, when they are on one, unplug their brains and stop watching the road. They run red lights; they weave in their lanes and sometimes completely out of their lanes. They miss noticing other drivers their car is on a collision course to hit. The San Jose Mercury here in the Silicon Valley has a driving column called Mr Roadshow that once had a column or two with stories featuring the incredibly dangerous driving by such people.

Even drunks drive better than some of those drivers!

2. But there may be even worse to come. And, it’s already beginning to arrive now!

Yesterday, LiveScience.com, LiveScience.com had a story they titled:

“Drivers Who Text Are Six Times More Likely to Crash.”

This was the conclusion of a careful study that had just been released

The research was done on a simulator to get the most accurate measures and to keep the people who were subjects in the research safe.

The texting drivers drove from about as well as the severely drunk and the clueless cell phone users we just described to somewhat worse.

In the simulations, “Drivers' median reaction time increased by 30 percent when they were texting and 9 percent when they talked on the phone, compared with when they were just driving.”

“Drivers who were texting also showed impairment in forward and lateral control than did drivers who talked on a cell phone while driving or drove without texting”

As dangerous as this clearly is, most drivers who text surely would know better than to take their eyes off the road and do it while driving, right?

Very unfortunately not.

The Live Science.com study also had this quote: “A study earlier this year found that 60 percent of teens "drive while texting," or DWT.”

It seems that in most people of whatever age who communicate with text messages, some of them routinely or occasionally do it while driving.

And when the driver is reading return text messages, they are even more clueless, unplugged, & impaired – and dangerous to have on the road.:

This also was in the story:

“Reading text messages affected braking time more than did composing messages.”

We have very expensive to fall into laws and mandatory programs for people who drive while they are that drunk.

But so far, no new laws have been passed to cover these 2 kinds of very dangerous drivers

The good news is that virtually every city and state has laws that DO apply. And the tickets are expensive enough to get people’s attention. More than that, in many states they count as heavily as actual accidents towards a point system that can result in repeat offenders losing their legal right to drive.

Those are the laws against reckless driving.

So, I think that all police in the United States who write traffic tickets at all should be asked – and expected as a normal part of their jobs – to watch for the kind of driving some people do while on their cell phone and for people texting while driving.

Then, if someone has been weaving in their lane or run a stop sign or red light or gone down a one way street the wrong way while on their cell phone – OR is seen to be texting at the wheel, I think the officers should be required to issue a ticket or an additional ticket for reckless driving.

And, once this is set up there should be massive publicity that this will happen if you drive while on your cell phone AND forget to pay attention to your driving or if you drive while texting.

I don’t think driving should get as risky as having lots of drunks around every time you drive.

And, the police already have a law against it.

They just aren’t yet using it for these two situations. I think for the public safety they exist to protect, they should write these reckless driving tickets every time they see either of these two things.

If you agree, contact your local highway patrol and police department and ask that they do so.

Your life or the life of someone you care about may depend on it.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Taxes on Bad for you foods – possibly soon....

Today's Post: Monday, 12-21-2009

Eating too much bad for you foods and most drinking of any soft drinks will make you fat and sick & particularly likely to get type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, & every kind of heart disease from heart attacks & heart failure to strokes, peripheral artery disease (PAD), erectile dysfunction,& vascular dementia; and Alzheimer’s disease.

Most people who ingest this stuff don’t have a clue how bad this stuff is for them if they ingest it every day -- or worse, ingest almost nothing else -- & keep doing it for years!

Even some people who have at least heard it might be bad for them, pay no attention. They grew up with it; they see people on TV advertising for it; the stuff usually does taste good; their friends or people they work with eat or drink it; &, if they are still young or quite active, it may not have seemed to harm them yet. And, they believe if it really was that bad for them it would at least be illegal. Oops!

Unfortunately, this can be challenging to change since the companies who provide it make good money; and many of them are quite large. And, virtually everyone who watches broadcast TV is inundated with ads for this stuff, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You could outlaw all of the bad for you ingredients right away. But that is totally undoable. Except for the very worst stuff (trans fats so far), since most people don’t really know or believe it’s that bad for them, there is insufficient political support. And, even if the large companies it would put out of business didn’t lobby against it with great vigor -- & they do, it would put lots of mostly innocent and undeserving people out of work. (Most of them don’t really know the product they help make or sell is that bad for people either.)

However, we must reduce the consumption of this stuff or our economy will go bankrupt from people too sick to work or be very productive combined with horribly high medical costs.

This has already happened to such an extent, the recovery from the recession is slowed by the hit increasing medical costs have given the discretionary spending of the people who still have jobs!

The good news is that there is a proven fix to all this.

We already know from increases on taxes on alcohol and tobacco products that such increases reliably lower consumption. Some people quit buying completely. But most people still buy but buy less.

So, it’s proven. Higher taxes reduce consumption.

1. In my view alcohol needs no increases in taxes or very little. In moderation it’s actually good for you. It’s already taxed heavily. And, the increased harshness of drunk driving laws and enforcement have cut excess consumption by a lot.

2. As we’ve posted on from time to time, tobacco & tobacco smoke are so harmful, it might make sense to simply outlaw their use. They certainly deserve it. But that’s unlikely. And, given the US experience with recreational drugs and the alcohol Prohibition experiment, it may not even be a good idea with the market of millions of addicts who will still try to get them.

However, any tax increase of any size on tobacco & on smokable tobacco products is a great idea. It also is proven that it would help to continue to increase the number of places that people are not allowed to smoke since the second hand smoke is so harmful; &, with fewer places to smoke, fewer people will smoke and smokers will smoke less.

3. The big opportunity and the huge need for such taxes is on the food and drink components that are now untaxed and have begun to make nearly half the people in the United States and some other countries fat and diabetic and headed for massive increases in heart attacks and strokes and disability and more.

Sugar in every form, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, and refined grains are both unnecessary for human life and health and proven causes of obesity and disease when ingested every day in quantity for years at a time.

When that happened to 10 % of the people, the costs were high but affordable. Now that it’s half the people -- and in the children on the way to being adults will be 75% if nothing is done, we simply cannot afford the tab.

The good news is that taxing this stuff will immediately give the governments that tax it badly needed income that actually improves their local economy instead of slowing it down.

So, as I see it. Such taxes are inevitable. We need them badly to slow the consumption of this stuff and begin to reverse the high medical care costs they cause. And, the governments need the tax funds.

But we have to start somewhere -- as desirable as such taxes are.

This may be happening soon in Taiwan!

AFP, an international health news service, said today, Monday, 12-21-2009, that Taiwan is planning the world's first tax on junk foods to cut obesity rates.

The Bureau of Health Promotion is drafting a bill to levy a special tax on food that makes people fat, including sugary drinks, candy, cakes, fast food, and alcohol.

Revenues from the tax would finance promoting health awareness and knowledge and subsidize Taiwan's now cash-strapped national health system.

The bill, if approved by their parliament, could take effect around 2011.

The article had this quote.:

“ "Overweight problems are getting worse in Taiwan with 25 to 30 percent of children obese, and it will cause more strain on our national health system," said Beryl Sheu, chief of the foundation's food nutrition division.”

Of course, it might not pass or they might pass a watered down version that is too weak to be effective.

But the more this happens, the more likely it is that soon an effective tax will be passed. Once that happens, the positive effects on the treasury of the government involved and the health effects on their people will be so tempting to other governments, such taxes will happen all over the world.

For example, if you go to almost any fast food place and most restaurants you can get a 16 ounce soft drink for something like $1.39. But if that soft drink was taxed 5 cents and ounce because it was a soft drink and another 10 cents an ounce for the high fructose corn syrup in it, it would cost $3.79. Would fewer people buy them at all? Yes. Would the people who still buy them buy them less often? Yes. They might buy and drink 7 a week instead of 14. That way some people would lose 30 pounds of fat by not drinking any. And, the people who cut back from two a day to one would lose 15 pounds of fat.

The same effects would happen at home if something like sweet rolls, cookies or microwave popped corn began costing more for the taxes on the refined grains, the taxes on the sugar, the taxes on the excessive salt, and the very high taxes on the hydrogenated oils they contain.

Each such snack food with such multiple taxes would increase in cost by three to six times a piece. A box of cookies at $3.49 is affordable to many people. When it costs $14.89 because of the $11.40 in added taxes that it actually deserves, it will be a rare treat if at all.

Since that’s closer to what a mostly sedentary person’s body can handle, that will make a huge improvement in obesity levels and their resulting medical costs.

The good news is that individual people can learn better than to eat or drink this stuff and stop now even before such taxes show up.

But the even better news is that the huge and avoidable medical costs, death, and suffering of the people who don’t know any better will drop like a stone when adequate taxes on this stuff exist everywhere.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Good for you foods....

Today's Post: Friday, 12-18-2009

Too much bad for you foods and all soft drinks will make you fat and sick & particularly likely to get type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, & every kind of heart disease from heart attacks & heart failure to strokes, peripheral artery disease (PAD), erectile dysfunction,& vascular dementia; and Alzheimer’s disease.

But there are so many good for you foods and so many kinds you can stop eating and drinking all the bad stuff and have so many choices of what to eat instead you would be hard pressed to taste it all even once each.

Except for soy, Dr Steven Pratt’s SuperFoods Rx & his subsequent books do a superb job of listing these foods.

If you’ve never seen one, check one out of your local library or buy one online and read it.

He does a great job.

(There’s ample reason to believe all soy NOT processed into the traditional foods and made from non GMO, not genetically modified, soy is NOT safe to eat more than once or twice a year if at all. Soy protein based energy bars, and soy protein added to foods, and soy based bacon and other “meatless” foods are best not eaten! And, for men & some women, eating the traditional soy based foods such as tofu, miso, tempeh, etc is likely best held down to once or twice a week.)

Here’s just a small & quickly listed set of them. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are some incredibly good for you foods in this list. But there are hundreds if not thousands more.

Find the ones that you like or have health benefits you want and eat those. Then keep finding more like that and eating them. You’ll be less fat; a lot healthier; & you’ll age more slowly and live longer and in good health.


Virtually every variety of eating on the planet associated with good health results contains nonstarchy vegetables & even some that are somewhat starchy.

For example, it becomes easy to get and stay trim and free of excess fat if you eat 5 to 9 servings a day of vegetables most of which are nonstarchy.

a) The cruciferous vegetables fight cancer and multiple ways, particularly when eaten raw and when grown organically.

Broccoli and its florets when eaten raw do this well. And, broccoli also is high in carotenes. Kale and cauliflower do this well. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, watercress, radishes, horse radish as a spice, also work great.

All of them can be eaten raw for best cancer fighting results. But they are so nutritious they also are great cooked. Some people find them much more palatable that way; & the ones like broccoli that contain carotenes actually will give you MORE of it when it’s cooked.
Two examples.

You can eat the broccoli florets raw; & then cut off the worst soiled spots and the toughest skin off the stalks; then dice them up fine and boil with curry powder and garlic with some extra virgin olive oil until there are MUCH softer; then let that cool and blend it with 2% lowfat traditional, unflavored yogurt. It actually tastes pretty good with virtually now harsh taste from the broccoli nor un-chewable fibers; plus all the flavors of the spices blend together with the creamy yogurt. It’s a great way to not only eat but enjoy the fibrous stalks you’d otherwise be tempted to toss in the compost bin.

Second, you can sauté a whole head of washed off organically grown kale in a pan after you cut the head into chunks that will fit initially with some extra virgin olive oil & then add crushed raw garlic after its cooked. This will serve two people a tasty and hot dish that’s very filling.

You can also make coleslaw with homemade real mayo using only extra virgin olive oil and add some diced onion &/or diced sweet onion & through in your favorite additions, diced carrot or washed & diced cilantro or washed & diced basil leaves that have been de-stemmed.
The cabbage, red or green or a combo is raw; but diced up with the other ingredients, it is a lot more fun to eat.

b) Dark leafy greens other than cruciferous such as organic romaine or red leaf lettuce or spinach leaves are also good. They are high in magnesium which is a mineral critical too good health, good heart health, and normal blood pressure, and avoiding constipation. Getting enough magnesium is also a little known way to get better sleep. Since 80 % of current US residents are deficient that’s quite valuable.

c) Carotene rich vegetables help protect your health and tend to prevent cancers. Both raw and cooked tomatoes with cooked tomatoes and sauces the most effective sources, broccoli, dark green greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, and squash are all great carotene foods. (In broccoli and greens, the red or orange carotenes are hidden by the dark green; but they are still there.)

*Berries, etc

Virtually all organically grown berries, cherries, and grapes are good for you.

Two examples are blueberries and cranberries.

Blueberries are one of the SuperFoods. They taste good, particularly with milder and contrasting foods such as 1% lowfat milk or shredded coconut or cooked old fashioned oatmeal. They increase HDL cholesterol and provide fiber and vitamin C. They have a cancer fighting phytonutrient. But what really is exciting is that they not only help prevent age relate mental decline but have actually reversed it in mild cases.

Cranberries are very intensely flavored with almost no sugar. Eating whole, unsweetened cranberries is a challenge. But diced up with a bit of orange juice and orange zest from organic oranges, they make a great counterbalancing addition to many kinds of meats and savory foods. Also, people who drink a daily glass of juice get many health benefits including a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. But, though they have health benefits, apple, grape, and orange juice have too much sugar to drink very frequently if you want get and stay free of excess fat. (If you overdo such juices it can approach being as fattening as drinking soft drinks.) Vegetable juices work as more frequent choices to solve this problem. And so does cranberry juice. Real 100 % cranberry juice is more than a little tart but is much more palatable than whole cranberries and approaches having no sugar in comparison to other fruit juices. And, that juice has many of the health benefits of grape juice AND it prevents bacteria from sticking to your internal surfaces and can prevent and even do a good job in treating bacterial infections of the bladder. (It’s advisable for kidney infections; but those will and bad bladder infections may also need antibiotics from your doctor.) Of course if you drink enough water and drink a few glasses a week of cranberry juices, you have an excellent chance of never getting these.

*Wild caught seafood not high in mercury such as sardines, salmon, and shrimp are high in omega 3 oils and magnesium.

*Dark chocolate, unsweetened cocoa, unsweetened chocolate such as baker’s chocolate & cacao nibs made from the crushed beans chocolate is made from – all lower high blood pressure, promote and increase healthy blood circulation, and help prevent fatal heart attacks if you eat or drink them with no milk before, during, or after.

Even better, the unsweetened cocoa and cacao nibs have no sugar and not too much fat. If you eat & drink one of these foods each day, you can be a lot healthier even with the sugar in the dark chocolate and the extra fat in the chocolates without gaining fat if you do it right. Each of these forms has the part of chocolate that makes people feel good; each of them is good for your health; each of them is very high in antioxidants; & they are also all rich in magnesium.

*Foods that are high in quercetin help keep healthy; help you be far less allergic; and – just as CoQ10 or its end-result form, ubiquinol do, quercetin protects and helps activate your mitochondria that are the power source of each of your cells. That helps you have more energy, persistence, endurance, and ability to exercise vigorously. It also keeps your heart strong.

Tea, apples, capers, onions – particularly the red part of red onions, red grapes, citrus fruit, tomatoes, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, cherries, and most berries including raspberry, & wild cranberries. Wikipedia also said that a “recent study found that organically grown tomatoes had 79% more quercetin than "conventionally grown".”

*Virtually all raw and dry roasted nuts are SuperFoods for people not allergic to them.

Walnuts, pecans, almonds, and dry roasted almonds all are SuperFoods.

(Salted nuts & nuts roasted in oil high in omega 6 oils or in any kind of hydrogenated vegetable oil should be carefully avoided however.)

Eating them increases your HDL cholesterol. They make a virtually zero glycemic but enjoyable and satisfying snack. They are high in magnesium. And the gamma tocopherol form of vitamin E in them helps prevent cancers and prostate and likely breast and ovarian cancers.

In people who are not allergic those who eat a serving of nuts daily or on most days actually live something like 5 or more years longer than similar people who don’t eat nuts.

Talk about a good health track record! You have to add regular exercise or stop smoking to get effects like that. Nuts are so good for your health if you aren’t allergic, they are that valuable.

They work well as a snack by themselves, as a crunchy addition to salads or savory foods, and as a crunchy but very low glycemic addition to sugary dessert foods or whole grain breakfast cereals.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lose belly fat & harmful & hidden visceral fat....

Today's Post: Thursday, 12-17-2009

Too much abdominal or belly fat causes many hassles; and the hidden & harmful visceral fat related to it both is an indicator of the harmful actions and health problems that created it and itself is a direct cause of health problems.

Too much abdominal or belly fat can cause you to outgrow clothes you like or once looked good in. It can literally restrict your breathing enough to cause difficulties breathing and even tends to cause asthma. It can make it hard to keep your pants up without wearing suspenders or braces. And, it doesn’t look that great.

The visceral fat that is internal and hidden and related to belly fat is actually dangerous past a minimal point. Both the things that cause it and the effects of the chemical messengers it sends to your body are associated with high blood pressure; high blood sugar -- or type 2 diabetes if your blood sugar gets too high; chronic inflammation; and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks. It’s even associated with increased risk of many cancers.

Surprisingly, a recent study even found excess visceral fat in people who didn’t look “fat” and were actually at what is considered normal weight.

Worse, if you have too much belly fat and visceral fat, if you don’t actively take steps to remove or decrease it, you’ll gradually get even more of it! Yechh!

The good news is that you can stop getting more and begin to get rid of it with things that are doable for most people.

Even better, you can get rid of it and keep it off even more easily than the fat just underneath the skin that is in other locations on your body.

1. A recent study reported in the Parade Magazine of Sunday, 12-6-2009 showed that 80 minutes a week of either strength training or aerobic exercise were able take some of it off with the exercise alone. (The control group that did no exercise kept adding more of it instead!)

Other studies have found that it may actually work slightly better to do 13 to 15 minutes of such exercise 6 or 7 days a week instead of the two 40 minute sessions each week that the researchers used in this study.

That means if you do 13 to 15 minutes of strength training or interval cardio on 6 or 7 mornings a week just before breakfast, it will work well.

Going to a gym for 40 minutes can be good too & a great idea if you can do it in addition. But if you haven’t the time or the money to fit it in or can’t go every week, you very likely can do the 15 minutes each morning at home.

2. The Parade article also mentioned eating more fiber as also helping to avoid adding more belly and visceral fat.

But this misses some more effective ways to go.

Eating more nonstarchy vegetables and some fresh fruit and beans or lentils works a good bit better than eating more high fiber bread.

And, virtually stopping eating any foods made from refined grains and cutting WAY back on your sugar intake is essential. Eliminating all soft drinks is so effective it’s virtually essential also.

Yes, those changes in eating do dramatically increase your fiber intake.

But they also cut calories from your diet without making you hungrier.

And, of key importance, they are much lower glycemic and cause dramatically less too rapid increases in your blood sugar. That plus the vigorous exercise turning off or turning down insulin resistance will result in much lower average blood levels of insulin.

That’s a huge asset, because when your insulin levels are too high, your body ADDS belly and visceral fat.

3. A third way to lower belly fat and visceral fat is to eat mostly omega 9 or monosaturated fat instead of saturated fat or omega 6 oils. This too reduces insulin levels.

(Omega 9 or monosaturated fats are in extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and avocados.)

This means eating less grain foods, to some degree even eating less whole grain foods, and NEVER eating refined grain foods; and not using or eating high omega 6 oils such as corn oil, soy oil, safflower oil, or canola oil.

Since meat from grain fed animals is unnaturally high in saturated fat, total fat, AND omega 6 oils from the grains they are fed, it means NOT eating such meat; eating far less of it; &/or only eating such meat in its leanest and most fat trimmed forms.

Meat from animals fed ONLY grass or their natural diet; wild caught fish, nuts, nonfat and very lowfat dairy foods, and beans & lentils along with some eggs or whey or egg based protein supplements work far better to give you protein without adding to your belly fat than meat from grain fed animals.

It’s also worth noting that adding such exercises and making these changes to eating better have been shown to directly help you lose all your fat; lower high blood pressure; and lower your measures of blood sugar if they are too high.

Then after you’ve done them long enough to have less belly and visceral fat, all these health improvements get even better.

If you still have too much belly fat after making these changes to lose that fat, you may well have to lower your caloric intake a bit more in a way that avoids triggering your body’s famine response, find a way to do more physical activity and exercise; &/or take certain supplements.

We are working on an eBook and on other ways to help people do just that. But it is a bit more complex and takes longer to describe.

However, the 3 steps above may be all you need to do the job in your particular case.

And, even if they are not, they will dramatically protect your health virtually from when you start doing them; & they are the indispensible foundation for doing more as well.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Niacin may slow aging, lower inflammation, & help prevent type 2 diabetes too!....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 12-15-2009

To prevent or reverse heart disease, in addition to lowering inflammation if it’s chronically high and doing some other things, it’s most effective if you lower the amount of the small particle LDL that sticks into the molecular chinks in the walls of your blood vessels.

That process is about like pouring glue-treated sand into an engine. Yecch!

Lowering total LDL likely helps; but it’s indirect since the larger particles of LDL seem to be harmless & tend to roll along the surface of your blood vessels like tumble weeds without harming the surface.

However, the research scientists and doctors found out that you can get an accurate idea of whether the amount of small particle LDL by measuring your HDL and triglycerides.

This was in last Friday’s post:

“If your HDL reading is greater than your triglyceride reading, that’s excellent and safest. Conversely, if your triglyceride reading is more than 6 times your HDL, you are at very high risk. (Exercise AND never ingesting trans fats or hydrogenated oils lower small particle LDL directly. And you can do other things that increase HDL & others that lower triglycerides.)”

So, imagine if you had a substance or action that lowers total LDL, increases HDL, & lowers triglycerides too.

There are 3 first rate things that do this.

1. Get abundant regular exercise with some of it vigorous almost every day.

2. NEVER knowingly ingest trans fats or the hydrogenated oils that contain them; & make an effort not to ingest things that might contain them very often; & read labels at the store

(Exercise lowers small particle LDL directly; & trans fats or the hydrogenated oils that contain them directly INCREASE them.)

3. There IS a third way. Taking real niacin every day from 300 mg a day and up lowers total LDL, increases HDL, & lowers triglycerides too.

It prevents heart attacks better than statins; and decreases all cause mortality rates more, particularly if you also lower any high and chronic inflammation with the means listed in last Friday’s post.

(You do have to get your liver function checked if you take 1,000 mg a day or more of niacin just as you do in taking statin drugs. But taking 300 mg after a meal once to three times a day is likely safe. I do that after breakfast and lunch but not dinner myself.

Also, if you take 300 mg a day or more of niacin or take any statin drug, you should also take the supplement Milk Thistle.

It’s so effective in protecting your liver it even does so when you get chemo a recent study found! That study looked at the same indicators, AST and ALT, that the doctors use to test your liver function if you take 1,000 mg or more a day of niacin or take statin drugs.)

Last Friday, in the email I get from Dr Dharma Singh Khalsa, I found that he had gone to an “Anti-Aging conference” in Las Vegas recently & heard or read a study that found that:

Niacin also produces “a research proven life-extending protein—called silent information regulator 2 protein, or Sir2p—which is able to "silence" genes related to cellular aging.”

That's what the more expensive supplement Resveratrol does.

Dr Dharma also wrote that research also has found that niacin reduces the inflammation and joint destruction that many forms of arthritis cause. Niacin apparently does this by decreasing the inflammatory molecules, called cytokines, that cause degenerative osteoarthritis!

Niacin may reduce the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in your pancreas. That may help you prevent type 2 diabetes and even keep type 1 diabetes from getting even worse.

Dr Dharma also said that: “decreased pancreatic function is a strong risk factor for mid-life obesity & heart disease”!

In addition, Dr Dharma closed by saying that taking niacin helps lower perceived stress and anxiety and the harm they do your body enough, taking niacin when stressed has outperformed “prescription sedatives in some cases.”!

Are you taking niacin yet?

If not, you might want to add it!

Don’t take 1,000 mg or more without getting the regular liver checks with your doctor.

Do take milk thistle too.

And, ONLY take niacin in addition to taking a statin after consulting with your doctor AND taking CoQ10 or ubiquinol.

Taking both niacin and a statin works extremely well for some people; & causes others serious harm. So your doctor needs to know and disclose the risks and work with you if you do that.

Taking sterol supplements and niacin and eating right work as well or better than statins or taking statins and niacin from what I’ve observed.

But if your HDL is quite low and your triglycerides are quite high, you’d best do something!

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Even more ways to prevent cancer, or treat it....

Today's Post: Monday, 12-14-2009

I have a family history of prostate cancer. I want very much to avoid the aggressive form of it and to escape all other cancers if I can.

So, as many of you know who have read my posts for awhile, I’ve posted often on preventing prostate cancer and preventing cancer generally.

There are now so many ways to do each, I almost need a library and information management assistant to keep track of them all.

But there have been so many recent promising studies that I felt I needed to do a new post listing most of them!

1. First, a quick reminder, staying away from cigarette smoke (and lighting cigarettes with lighters) by both not smoking or quitting ASAP AND staying away from second hand smoke will prevent over 30 % of ALL kinds of cancer, not just lung cancer. And the percentage may be even higher, in one oncology ward I visited, half the people there were smokers or former smokers.

2. Next, a relative has melanoma and is getting chemo.

Some of the information I just got on preventing and treating cancer is in this next section that I adapted from an email I just sent my relative.:

Two things that may turn off cancer growth or metastasis without slowing down chemo.

Vitamin D3.

Taking 2,000 iu a day (in his case 5,000 a day might be better) of vitamin D3 tends to prevent many cancers and the way it's thought to work may mean it will also slow down existing cancers. (We now have evidence the RDA for vitamin D3 should be 2,000 to 3,000 iu instead of the 400 they have had.)

Vitamin D3, apparently boosts your immune system overall; and increases the number &/or effectiveness of macrophages that eat invading organisms etc. And, it may help your immune system recognize cancer cells as cells to attack.

And, since it does NOT appear to be an antioxidant, it looks as if it can do these things without interfering with chemo which some antioxidant vitamins might do.

(I take 3200 iu a day of D3 in addition to what I get in milk and the limited sun exposure I get.)

Turmeric (curcumin).

Turmeric may be an even better bet. Turmeric supplements which contain curcumin have at least 3 cancer fighting capacities. (Turmeric is what gives curries their yellow color. The incidence of cancer in India is low; and that may be in part because they eat a lot of curried food.)

Like vitamin D3, turmeric increases the number &/or effectiveness of macrophages that eat invading organisms etc. (For this reason and perhaps others, both vitamin D3 and turmeric help your macrophages clean amyloid protein from your brain and both prevent -- and perhaps in the early stages reverse -- Alzheimer's disease.)

New research shows that turmeric may also inhibit the stem cells cancer cells use to grow and metastasize! <<<<

Turmeric also helps prevent your immune response from overdoing the growth of new blood cells in the presence of inflammation. This may well also act to deprive cancer cells of the new blood vessels they need to grow.

I take one 600 mg capsule a day of what is labeled as curcumin; but is clearly turmeric inside. I take that as a preventive for Alzheimer's disease. But I'm pleased it looks to also prevent many cancers too.

If I had melanoma, I'd take 3 or 4 of those capsules a day I think.

Here again, I've seen no reports that turmeric inhibits chemo.

In summary, taking vitamin D3, taking turmeric or curcumin supplements, & eating curry often each look to prevent and may also help treat cancer.

2. Two ways to protect your liver from chemo.:

Milk thistle or its active ingredient,

-- one name for which is silymarin, is so protective for your liver, it has saved the lives of people who have eaten death cap mushrooms though they did need a very concentrated extract.

In today's health news, I found this.:

"Milk thistle may limit liver damage from chemo

By Amy Norton NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Monday, 12-14-2009

A study of 50 children undergoing chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), reported today that milk thistle appeared to reduce treatment-related liver inflammation as measured by the indicators AST and ALT; & the reduction in AST was significantly large.

This study was published online in the journal Cancer.

Apparently liver inflammation is common among children undergoing chemotherapy & adults too I suspect.

It looks like milk thistle or a silymarin extract from it, may lessen the impact of the chemo doctors think would best kill the cancer by making it safer for you to have a higher dose of chemo.

Vitamin K.

I read of one study of a group who had some kind of condition, hepatitis C, I think it was, where normally 50% of the people get liver cancer.

They tested a matched group of people who took vitamin K. And, in that group, only 10% got liver cancer.

Both vitamin K1 & vitamin K2 have effects on how fast your blood clots which is important if you are on a blood thinning drug.

The best news is that eating Kale and/or broccoli raw has lots of vitamin K AND they each contain other cancer fighting compounds.

Drinking several cups of green tea a day also has vitamin K and other ingredients also thought to fight cancer, particularly stomach cancer.

Lastly, you can take green tea extract supplements.

Note that vitamin K, protects your liver and prevents liver cancer. In fact, both vitamin K and the foods and teas that contain it, likely help to prevent all cancers, not just liver cancer.

Of this list, vitamin D3 is quite inexpensive ($5 to $8 after tax for 100 capsules of 1,000 iu each); and kale and broccoli and green tea may already be in your food budget and are not expensive.

Turmeric and milk thistle supplements cost a bit more but not a lot more; & look to be well worth it.

3. Other news on cancer prevention.:

Drinking lots of coffee (or decaf, so it’s the coffee, not the caffeine) makes prostate cancer less likely and the aggressive form even less likely. (I’ve also seen a coffee extract supplement that might be worth using.)

I read that taking 3 mg a day of boron cuts prostate cancer incidence in half. More recently I read some information that may explain why. Boron apparently boosts or helps activate the cancer fighting and other health benefits of vitamin D3.

Taking a hops extract, which is already available, was found to lower PSA levels, and may also directly attack prostate cancer cells. For people where the DST breakdown product of testosterone is driving their cancer, hops extract attacking the cancer directly looks particularly likely.

Eating nuts, taking omega 3 supplements, and limiting omega 6 oils turns down inflammation and also helps prevent cancer (& heart disease). In addition, pistachios, pecans, and walnuts are high in gamma tocopherol that prevents prostate cancer.

Both regular vigorous exercise and regular walking independently were found to prevent prostate cancer. Each one does; and doing both does a lot.

Also, if you do both, you’re less likely to be obese and will be far less fat than you otherwise would be. And carrying excess fat is a risk factor for getting all cancers.

That is a lot of things to do to prevent cancer & prostate (&/or breast cancer); but some are inexpensive (you can even save money by NOT smoking); and some you may already be doing.

Do the ones you can already; & add as many of the rest as you can.

It looks like they all work!

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Fat loss helps prevent heart attacks....

Today's Post: Friday, 12-11-2009

It starts with how we can find out our current risk of heart disease.

We begin this post with the several risk factors for heart disease and heart attacks we now know are important and which predict your risk well.

But after them, we include an easier and cheaper indicator based on how fat you are that is just a predictive an indicator as the others.

Some people have only heard that high total cholesterol is a risk factor.

We now know that a set of several factors gives a much better picture of your real risk of heart disease.

That’s good news for 2 reasons.

First, if they are all in the danger zone, you know you should make out your will or update it right away -- AND do something to improve these measures if you’d like to live a bit longer or avoid a heart attack.

Second, there are several things & several things other than drugs that you can do to improve each one or prevent it from getting worse if it’s still good or OK.

a) The ratio of your HDL to your triglycerides, researchers and research doctors found, gives you an a very accurate picture of your blood level of the small particle LDL that is a direct cause of cardiovascular disease.

If your HDL reading is greater than your triglyceride reading, that’s excellent and safest. Conversely, if your triglyceride reading is more than 6 times your HDL, you are at very high risk. (Exercise AND never ingesting trans fats or hydrogenated oils lower small particle LDL directly. And you can do other things that increase HDL & others that lower triglycerides.)

b) Exposure to tobacco smoke.

If you smoke heavily or even a few cigarettes a day and are around second hand smoke, you ALREADY HAVE cardiovascular disease; it’s getting worse every day because or your smoke exposure; and are at extra risk of having a heart attack be triggered by the smoke. Very few smokers have ever learned just how severe this risk is. All too often now, they find out as they experience a fatal heart attack. (Not beginning to smoke or quitting helps. Coming close to completely avoiding second hand smoke helps. And voting for laws restricting where people can smoke and increased taxes on tobacco products and even higher taxes on the smokable kinds such as cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco each help.)

c) CRP, c-reactive protein, a measure of inflammation, often measured by HSCRP test.
(The HS stands for high sensitivity.)

Less than 0.3 is excellent; over 1.0 is risky; & over 2.0 begins to be quite dangerous. (Regular exercise, getting lots of the omega 3 oils, DHA & EPA; NOT ingesting meat from grain fed animals or doing it often; NOT ingesting soy, corn, or other high omega 6 oils –extra virgin olive oil is an OK & health supporting alternative, and cutting way back on eating refined grain foods or sugars each lowers inflammation. Taking enough vitamin D to get fewer infections and avoiding tobacco smoke also probably helps.)

d) Homocysteine.

8.0 or less is ideal; above 9.0 begins to indicate risk; & 12.0 or higher is high risk though because such readings have been so common, some doctors have though they were less risky since so many people scored that high. You can lower the readings by taking B complex vitamins, eating a lot of foods high in folic acid, and taking the supplements NAC and TMG.
But your real risk may not go down if you don’t optimize all the other readings since your homocysteine may be more a reflection of them and not a causative agent. And, to the extent homocysteine itself is a cause of heart disease, if your blood vessels are already clogged with plaque from having a had that high level for too long, lowering it then may be like locking the barn door after your horse has been stolen – too late to do any good. That said, those supplements and the green vegetables high in folic acid each have abundant other health benefits.

e) High blood sugar &/or type 2 diabetes.

Fasting glucose of less than 90 & HBA1C less than 5.7 are lower risk of creating damage your blood vessels and creating or worsening heart disease; & fasting glucose of more than 120 & HBA1C more than 5.9 begin to be indicative of type 2 diabetes and indicate very high risk. (Eating very little sugar, NOT eating starchy foods or foods made from refined grains, and getting regular vigorous exercise such as interval cardio &/or strength training tend to help. Taking some supplements such as alpha lipoic acid, chromium, and some others also can help.)

f) High blood pressure.

119 over 79 or a bit less is low risk; over 140 over 90 is considered low level high blood pressure; and over 160 over 100 is dangerous enough as bad as the side effects tend to be taking drugs to lower it is safer for you according to the tests that have been done.

(Most vitamins and many minerals and some supplements help keep blood pressure lower to some degree; CoQ10 or its end result version, ubiquinol, lower high blood pressure as well or better than most drugs; getting physical stress relief is sometimes more effective than drugs and can help even when they are ineffective; combining eating several servings a day of vegetables and some of whole fresh fruit – all high in potassium – with eating very little salt and no foods containing lots of salt works well for many; exercise helps; but one of the best and most effective methods is to lose your excess fat if you have much of it.)
g) This is the new one to make 7 indicators we can use. <<<<<

Waist measurement at the navel.

Now, in addition to those 6 indicators, we have one that relates to each of them except smoking; but is so easy to do and inexpensive and low tech and noninvasive, you can easily do it yourself at home. And it is every bit as predictive a measure of heart attack risk research has found.

If you relax your gut to the level that is natural for you as you walk or sit and, as you are standing, you measure your waist with the tape going right over your navel – not lower down or higher, that we now know is that good an indicator of heart attack risk.

On Monday this week Reuters reported a story they titled,

“Body mass and waist size can predict heart disease.”

A 10 year study by Dutch researchers found that how fat people are is a very good predictor of heart attack risk and an even better predictor of fatal heart attacks.

They did use BMI readings too. But the most accurate measure of how much excess fat you have is your waist size which they also used.

"…. more than half (53 percent) of all fatal heart disease cases and around a quarter (25-30 percent) of all non-fatal cases were in people defined as overweight and obese.”

For men, they counted waist sizes of 36.9 inches or less as being OK fat wise; 37.0 inches to 40.0 inches as being overweight (somewhat to definitely too fat but not dreadfully so); & 40.1 or more as obese ( really fat.)

For women these they counted waist sizes of 31.4 inches or less as being OK fat wise; 31.5 inches to 34.5 inches as being overweight (somewhat to definitely too fat but not dreadfully so); & 34.6 inches or more as obese ( really fat.)

Other researchers have made similar findings; & the consensus is that in men, it’s important to keep your waist size below 40 inches and below 35 inches in women. And as we’ve seen 36 inches or a bit less in men is better and 31 inches or a bit less in women is better also.

The reason is pretty clear, people who eat the things that cause problems in all the other indicators except smoking and who don’t exercise will virtually all be too fat. In addition, being too fat directly and separately causes high blood pressure.

Fat loss and the lifestyle that creates it and sustains it, have been shown to improve virtually all the other heart attack risk factors except smoking.

So, if you are fatter than you should be, if you lose that fat – and do so largely by eating much better and exercising, your heart attack risk will go down a lot. And, it will go down as well if you also lose a bit more fat with some kind of sustainable calorie restriction.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lose half your fat with no hunger....

Today's Post: Thursday, 12-10-2009

This is an easy way to lose half or more of your excess fat with no hunger.

More than half of all people in the United States can use it.

(And, if you can’t use it, you are already half or more as fat as you otherwise would be since you can’t add it as a new fat loss method because you already do it! You may be 20 to 40 pounds overfat now; but imagine what it would be like to be 40 to 100 pounds overfat instead. Yikes!)

I knew it was powerful; but a new article gives some ideas on how to calculate exactly how powerful it actually is.

It’s actually quite simple. Drink water, -- or tea or coffee without sugar & without excessive cream added your coffee. And, do that exclusively -- while totally stopping all regular and diet soft drinks.

Regular soft drinks add calories without lowering your hunger at all and then cause rebound hunger from the sugars. (Diet soft drinks wind up having the same effect in most people since they make you so MUCH hungrier for the sugar your body tasted and then didn’t get.)

In short, if you stop drinking regular and diet soft drinks, not only will you avoid getting hungrier, you’ll actually get a bit LESS hungry.

Reuter’s had a news article suggesting a tax on soft drinks and had some quotes by the health policy expert who was one of the people, besides me, who advocates it.

Now, here’s why it’s so enormously powerful to simply NOT drink ANY soft drinks.:

“Reviving a taste for water could cut between 300 and 600 calories a day from the diet of an average American or Mexican and almost as much from the intake of many Europeans, he says.

"Depending on the country you live in, we now have between 10 and 25 percent of all calories consumed in sugary or caloric beverages," Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, told Reuters”

Here are the two ends of the range suggested by the professor.

Suppose you have a man who eats 3300 calories a day, 300 of which is from soft drinks & who weighs 220 pounds and is 40 pounds overfat. His health would be far better if he were at least 20 pounds of fat lighter.

If he immediately drinks water, tea, or coffee instead of the 300 calories a day from soft drinks but does no other dieting nor adds any exercise, he will gradually lose 20 pounds of fat – fully half of the excess.

Yes, it would help his health if he also ate better and added some exercise and lost all or part of the remaining 20 pounds of excess fat.

But, he can get half way there and save money besides with far less effort and no added hunger!

Suppose you have a woman who eats 1800 calories a day and is 80 pounds overfat at 180 pounds & who drinks 600 calories a day of soft drinks.

If she immediately drinks water, tea, or coffee instead of the 600 calories a day from soft drinks but does no other dieting nor adds any exercise, she will gradually lose 60 pounds of fat – fully three fourths of her excess fat.

Yes, it would help her health if she also ate better and added some exercise and lost all or part of the remaining 20 pounds of excess fat.

But, she can get well over half way there and save money besides with far less effort and no added hunger!

And, in her case, she will begin to look dramatically different!

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

More on the best kinds of food for fat loss....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 12-8-2009

I post so often on why it is so important to NOT eat:

refined grains; and trans fats and the hydrogenated vegetable oils they are made from; and most of the vegetable oils themselves such as soy & corn & canola oils due to their high omega 6 content; & to eat very little sugar & no high fructose corn syrup - & no artificial sweeteners;
& to NOT drink soft drinks,

-- that I think it’s important to do posts on what foods you can eat or eat MORE of.:

About a month ago I did a post, The three best kinds of food for fat loss.... on Friday, 11-6-2009. And, that included some foods I’ll list below.

But today’s post is about some additions that did NOT make that list -- and some new information on two of the foods already known to be health supporting. They also can help with fat loss!

1. Using olive oil and extra virgin olive oil lowers inflammation and helps give you a more favorable omega 3 to omega 6 oil balance, and helps prevent cancer and heart disease when compared with omega 6 oils like corn, & soy, and canola. Olive oil lowers LDL cholesterol while increasing your HDL or leaves your HDL level high while omega 6 oils lower HDL. That also helps prevent heart disease & stroke. Using olive oil instead of butter lowers your LDL levels and saturated fat intake. And, using olive oil instead of trans fats, when it works in cooking helps prevent heart disease. (Trans fats are heart attack starters while olive oil is protective.)

And, the omega 9, or monosaturated, oils from olive oil, nuts, and avocados tend to lower your insulin levels which helps you remove belly fat.

But there’s more! I just found out that compared to butter, olive oil makes you less hungry while butter tends to make you eat more.

The first of several foods I’ll cover that were listed this morning on one of AOL’s features is this new information on olive oil.

Olive oil can actually help with fat loss.

The feature said that a recent study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, found that butter & some other kinds of fats (trans fats I suspect) tell your brain that to ignore appetite-lowering signals from the leptin and insulin that regulate your weight.

(That may help cause insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and type 2 diabetes. It definitely will help make you fatter and cause you to lose less fat when you try.)

However, olive oil did the exact opposite, allowing your leptin and insulin to lower your appetite.

And, a different study from the UC, Irvine found that olive oil also causes production of a messenger in your small intestine that turns down hunger.

I highlight this one as it gives you a great reason to protect your health by virtually always using only olive oil – namely that you will be far less fat in addition to being healthier!

2. Protein foods help you lose fat since they turn off your hunger so much better than carbs or even most fats & they are one of the 3 kinds of foods we list to eat for fat loss.

Some protein foods such as eggs, beef fed only grass, and wild caught salmon & other seafoods except those with too much mercury do have some fat; but beans and lentils also have fiber and are far cheaper; & nonfat and very low fat dairy products are also cheaper.

But the AOL feature this morning listed a plant based group of foods that you can use which are super low calorie, zero saturated fat, & high in protein, mushrooms.

Button mushrooms have many of the health benefits of portabella and maitake mushrooms but cost less; and portabella mushrooms are large enough to be easier to cook in some ways while maitake mushrooms are credited with many health benefits in addition to their protein content.

3. Many fat loss experts recommend no grains at all; & I suspect that avoiding large amounts of even whole grains and only eating whole grains and virtually never eating foods made with refined grains is essential.

That said, whole grains are high in fiber, provide plant protein, and are inexpensive.

I had read that barley is lower glycemic than other grains & I’ve found I enjoy eating it. Wild rice has similar benefits. And I read of some experiments found that people who ate barley as their main grain tended to be leaner than people who ate other kinds of grain.

The AOL story this morning had two others.

a) They note that "old fashioned," NOT instant, oatmeal has soluble fiber which helps you feel full. (Soluble fiber also helps lower LDL cholesterol.) I eat this kind of oatmeal now once a day & will continue to eat it; but I plan to go to eating it only every other day soon as part of my increased fat loss efforts. However, if someone is eating corn flakes now & switches to this kind of oatmeal, they very well might lose some fat.

b) I’ve always liked rye bread for its taste and now eat one piece of whole grain, sprouted rye bread in a half sandwich at my weekday lunches.

It seems I made a good fat loss choice too.

The AOL article reported that some Swedish researchers found that eating rye bread increases you feeling of being full enough to tend to cause you to eat fewer calories up to 8 hours after you eat it when compared to eating whole wheat bread.

This study, published in "Nutrition Journal," also stated that people who ate rye bread also had a lower insulin response.

Not bad!! If you eat fewer calories and have lower insulin levels, you WILL be less fat and have less belly fat.

4. This part of the AOL story is like the olive oil part. It seems that another good for you food that tastes good also helps you feel full better than an alternative food that hasn’t as strong a health supporting track record.

It seems that researchers at Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Copenhagen found dark chocolate turns down your hunger more than milk chocolate.

Even with that, you still have to be a bit careful not to overdo even dark chocolate as it is made with sugar.

But still, it’s nice to know that the dark chocolate that lowers blood pressure and increases your chances, according to another study I read of, of surviving any heart attack you might have, also turns down your hunger better than milk chocolate.

5. Next, in today’s online health news elsewhere was a story that an artificial sugar called oligofructose, may help people lose fat & will lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels in people who need it.

OFS has about 30% to 50% of the sweetness of table sugar the story reported.

Given the dreadful health track record of other artificial sweeteners and such artificial food components initially thought to be good for you! such as, hydrogenated oils and margarine, I strongly suspect that no one should ingest this OFS who values their health.

BUT, agave nectar also has about 30 to 50% of the sweetness and glycemic response as sugar and might well have similar effects.

(I’ve not yet experimented for taste with a mixture of one fourth maple syrup or brown sugar, one fourth agave nectar, and one half erythritol, a natural virtually no calorie sweetener. But this combination would have less than half the calories and glycemic response of 100 % sugar and might well also work.

My guess is that it would also be as sweet as 100 % sugar but without causing your body to crave more sugar as 100 % artificial sweetener would do & 100% erythritol might do.)

6. People who drink at least one glass of real fruit or vegetable juice each day are less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. Commercial vegetable juices such as tomato juice and V8 juice are low in sugar and lower in glycemic index compared with fruit juices but are salted. And, real orange juice and real grape juice have some real health benefits but are nearly as sweet and may have the same fat loss problems as regular soft drinks.

But, I just found out that real, 100 %, cranberry juice has about a sixth as much sugar as grape juice. It also has outstanding health benefits including helping to prevent bladder and kidney infections. (Whole Foods Markets sell it.)

It does cost a lot more per ounce than grape or orange juice or tomato juice or V8; but drinking it instead of a more sugary juice half the time or most of the time will help you lose fat.

Here are 3 food groups that ranked zero or close to it on glycemic index and glycemic load.:

(This part is from my Friday, 11-6-2009 post. Foods with a glycemic index that low are the BEST foods for fat loss.)

1. Nonstarchy vegetables. These include such foods as:

Cooked cabbage, raw cauliflower, green beans, spinach, & mushrooms -- & raw broccoli florets, radishes, asparagus, and other salad greens such as kale and romaine lettuce, etc.

2. Raw or dry roasted nuts. Pecans, walnuts, and almonds were listed in the zero, zero group.

(Oil roasted and/or salted nuts are NOT good. Usually the oils are omega 6 oils or partially hydrogenated omega 6 oils with horrible health results. And, more than just a tiny bit of salt will boost your blood pressure too high or higher.)

3. Eggs, meats, seafood, and fish also are in the zero, zero group.

Only eat the safest, least polluted, and most health supporting kinds. These are wild caught or naturally raised.

4. Eating some fresh fruit and very low fat dairy foods and home-juiced vegetables is OK as they have low moderate to moderate ratings on the glycemic index.

The goal is to eat an overall diet that is 20% or less on the glycemic index.

The result is hunger-free and effective fat loss.

Getting regular walking and a few sessions each of strength training and vigorous if brief interval cardio each week makes all this work even better to create hunger-free and effective fat loss.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Strength training & protein increase fat loss & keep it off...

Today's Post: Monday, 12-7-2009

In today’s Early to Rise email, see www.earlytorise.com , an email on money, success, and health, the founder, who goes by Michael Masterson, titled his health essay today,

“ How to Avoid Becoming a Fat Thin Person.”

This is a very good title for three reasons,

First, if you lose weight by losing muscle, when you’re done, you will burn fewer calories which tends to make you eat more than your body uses which causes any fat you lost to return.

Second, your ability to do things from jumping out of harm’s way if needed to carrying groceries depends on your muscles so having less of them literally makes you less able and safe.

Third, people who are already at normal weight but who don’t exercise and have too little muscle DO have the kind of internal, abdominal fat that tends to cause heart disease and type 2 diabetes. So, if your weight loss efforts turn you into that kind of normal weight person, the health benefits of losing the weight are far less than they could be.

Michael points out to only lose fat but no muscle at all in your weight loss efforts is clearly the right goal.

I think this is easier to focus on if you actually say you want to LOSE FAT rather to focus on losing weight. (Of course if that fat you want and need to lose weighs over 40 pounds and you succeed in losing it, you will weigh less.)

Michael reports that research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that two matched groups of women on a moderately calorie restricted diet got very different results.

Both groups ate the same number of calories -- & both groups even walked several times a week -- but the women in one group ate a bit more carbohydrates and a good bit less protein and the women in the second group not only ate substantially more protein and fewer carbohydrates, they also did two sessions a week of strength training.

The results were strikingly different.

The women on the higher carbohydrate, lower protein diet who walked but did no strength training lost an average of 15 pounds; and something like 2.5 pounds of their weight loss was muscle. (They lost about 12.5 pounds of fat.)

The women in the high-protein group who did strength training just two days a week had lost an average of 22 pounds; & only about half a pound of that was muscle. (They lost about 21.5 pounds of fat.)

The combination of a bit more protein and less carbohydrates with strength training increased the fat lost by 9 pounds.

But the importance of the increased fat lost is even more than just the greater amount.

The high protein, strength training group, was visibly trimmer and less fat far more than the lower protein group who did not strength train.

They looked better and very likely felt more successful. They were clearly stronger than the group that did no strength training. Their health improvement was far greater.

And, even better, between these better results and feelings they also had enough muscle to burn more calories than the group of women who did not strength train and who LOST so much more muscle, so their chances of keeping off the fat they lost are dramatically better.

The increased protein & fewer carbohydrates also helped. As readers of our previous posts also know, high glycemic carbohydrates that you eat make you less hungry at first but soon increase your hunger. Protein foods, by contrast, that you eat, make you less hungry a bit more & do NOT create the rebound hunger before your next mealtime as the carbohydrates do.

This means that the better results were also very likely caused by the higher protein group being less hungry as much as the greater calorie burn from the strength training and less muscle lost.

The best news is that the increase in protein was likely small something like an extra egg or two small servings of fish instead of one & the strength training group only did two sessions a week of it.

This means most people can very likely do as well.

This also means that someone who does the triple of walking most days for at least 20 minutes, strength training two days a week and vigorous interval cardio 3 other days each week -- and eats more health OK protein foods -- and eats green and nonstarchy vegetables and some fresh fruit and whole grain foods AND eliminates refined grain foods & foods made from them, all soft drinks, and most sugar will very likely do even better.

Best of all, this way of eating AUTOMATICALLY reduces the calories you eat; but does NOT make you more hungry.

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Friday, December 04, 2009

7 different ways to slow aging....

Today's Post: Friday, 12-4-2009

1. Keep the caps on your telomeres from unraveling or slow the process down.

Last Tuesday, 12-1, we posted on research that found vigorous exercise prevents the shortening of telomeres, the part of your DNA that protects the ends of your chromosomes from damage, similar to the caps on the ends of shoelaces.

This is now thought to be the main cause of aging; and when the telomeres become too short, the cell they are in dies.

We added some ideas on ways to get such exercise.

One of the ways this may work is that excessive and prolonged stress tends to unravel the telomeres.

And, recently it has been posted that people who are stressed AND get regular vigorous exercise tend NOT to feel severely stressed while sedentary people under the same level of stress DO feel severely stressed. So, it looks as if exercise may have its protective effect on telomeres in part by protecting you from some to much of the underlying processes by which excessive stress harms your body.

This also suggests that being lucky enough AND prudent and careful enough to avoid some kinds of severe stresses helps you escape the stress and avoid the aging that results. People who do things like always wearing their seat belts and always brushing their teeth and doing other prudent and preventive things, often escape severe stresses (& their increase of the rate of aging) that less prudent people do NOT escape.

Getting some kind of stress relief through massage, meditation, or Tai Chi – or watching a funny movie may also help.

Getting better at solving the problems that stress you &/or getting people to help you solve them will reduce the impact of stress on your telomeres and health. This can lift or remove the CAUSE of the stress.

Another method I’ve read about that was found to help keep your telomeres from unraveling was to take extra vitamin C. Based on its other health effects, taking 1500 mg a day or more of vitamin C may work best to do this.

I also once read that drinking green tea may have similar effects.

The other 5 ways I found in a recent Total Health Breakthroughs email in an article by their editor Jon Herring.

I list the cause of aging he did for each one & then list ways to combat them. (In this post, they are steps 2 through 6. Each of them is a state that increases aging and can be minimized or prevented.)

2. Inflammation.

People with high levels of chronic inflammation we now know are at greatly increased risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases AND for getting virtually all cancers.

Our ancestors ate some plant foods with omega 6 oils; & they ate about that much omega 3 oils in the naturally fed game and wild caught fish and seafood they ate.

Unfortunately, today the majority of people still eat refined grain; use high omega 6 cooking oils such as soy oil, saffola oil, and corn oil -- & to some extent canola oil; & they tend to eat meat from animals fed grains that make their meat high in omega 6 oils and have very little if any omega 3 oils. (Farmed fish are often fed grain also with similar results. And, that’s in addition to the pollutants in farmed fish.)

The result of this massive overeating of omega 6 oils and so little intake of omega 3 oils reliably produces high levels of inflammation.

The solution is to only eat meat from animals fed only grass even if that means you eat far less of it; totally stop ingesting the oils on the list above; and use extra virgin olive oil that is almost all a neutral omega 9 oil instead; eat wild caught fish, and take purified fish oil supplements high in omega 3 oil.

The average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day much of that from soft drinks and commercially baked snacks and desserts and other packaged foods. And, they get virtually no exercise or very little to help burn it off. They also eat very high glycemic refined grains and foods made from them.

This produces obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases AND increase inflammation.

Simply NOT eating that stuff and eating organic vegetables, organic whole fruit, raw or dry roasted nuts, and some whole grains instead will sharply decrease inflammation and produces good health in multiple other ways.

And, no surprise, moderate exercise and short sessions of vigorous exercise that are not done to the point of overall exhaustion or injury also lower inflammation.

Lastly, taking a turmeric supplement daily and often using curry (which contains turmeric) and ginger as spices tends to lower inflammation.

(So does taking statin drugs. But if you do the other things on this list, you won’t need them to do the job.)

3. Glycation. This is related to oxidation but with the addition of tangling sugar molecules into the proteins that make up your body. It tends to make the walls of your cells too stiff and impervious to their environment to work properly and may also shorten the telomeres in those cells.

Repeat from above, “The average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day much of that from soft drinks and commercially baked snacks and desserts and other packaged foods. And, they get virtually no exercise or very little to help burn it off. They also eat very high glycemic refined grains and foods made from them.

This produces obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases AND increase inflammation.” AND it increases glycation.

“Simply NOT eating that stuff and eating organic vegetables, organic whole fruit, raw or dry roasted nuts, and some whole grains instead will sharply decrease” glycation as well as inflammation since it dramatically lowers the excessive sugars that eating as the average American does tends to have in their blood stream.

You can also take the inexpensive supplement DMAE which tends to prevent glycation AND increases your heart protective HDL.

You can also take the expensive supplement, carnosine that tends to prevent glycation and increases the growth and repair of your muscles when you exercise them.

Lastly, lightly browning foods you cook or eating foods raw or boiled instead of heavily browning them, burning them, or overcooking them sharply decreases the glycated proteins you ingest. That also reduces the glycation of your cells.

4. Toxification. Simply put, if you poison your cells, they will die or weaken and the more this happens the more aging you experience. Fewer of your cells will work right and support your life and health.

Avoid using herbicides and pesticides in your yard. Use little or no pesticide in your house. Do NOT use air fresheners of any kind that use chemicals – which is about 99.5% of all of them.

Don’t smoke or be around second hand smoke.

As much as you can, buy organic vegetables and fruit. That not only cuts your exposure to herbicides and pesticides a bit, it just about doubles the nutrition you get.

Even more importantly, either stop eating meat from grain fed animals or only eat the leanest most fat-trimmed meat from such animals -- & eat less of that. The pesticides and herbicides used on the grain get bioconcentrated in the fat of grain fed animals. (Doing this also helps you avoid excessive omega 6 oils and saturated fat.)

Eat cilantro often as a spice because I’ve read it helps rid your body of mercury.

Take an NAC, n-acetyl cysteine, supplement daily as I’ve read it or the glutathione it causes your body to release, tend to help your body remove pollutants.

Your kidneys remove many toxins from your body. So if you protect them from cardiovascular disease and high levels of sugar and avoid sky high blood pressure and get enough water (NOT soft drinks) to drink, they’ll work better and protect you better and remove toxins better.

Your liver does even more to detoxify you. Avoid drinking more than 2 drinks a day if you are a man and more than one drink a day if you are a woman. Also consider taking a milk thistle supplement and a lecithin supplement each day. Each of these things help to protect the health of your liver.

5. & 6. Oxidation and Depletion.

If your body has its cells damaged by excessive oxidation or starved for the nutrients it uses as building blocks, your cells will be damaged or unable to work well or both.

The solution is to get abundant antioxidants and key nutrients in your food and by taking supplements.

Buy and eat several servings of a variety of organic vegetables and some fresh and organic fruit each day. Be sure to eat foods high in carotenes and natural vitamin C.

Take a multivitamin & mineral supplement daily.

Also take 500 to 1500 mg a day of extra vitamin C; take 200 iu a day of natural vitamin E with mixed tocopherols (Solgar sells exactly that supplement); if you can find it and afford it, take mixed, natural tocotrienols (related compound to the tocopherols and vitamin E); take 200 mcg a day of selenium.

And, consider taking 200 mg a day of alpha lipoic acid. This not only is an antioxidant directly, it apparently helps vitamin C & vitamin E have greater antioxidant effects.

Take at least 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3. Most people in the United States and in many other countries are badly deficient in this nutrient. And we no know that it is essential to almost every health supporting process in your body. It couldn’t be simpler. People who get less than that are almost all deficient. And, people who are deficient in vitamin D, get more cancers, more bacterial and viral illnesses, and more heart disease than people who are not AND they get more autoimmune disease. So it’s no surprise they tend to die younger than people who get enough vitamin D.

7. Take CoQ10 or even better take the ubiquinol directly that CoQ10 changes into in your body. CoQ10 is BOTH an antioxidant and keeps the mitochondria that are the power and energy source in your cells operating well.

Dr. Al Sears reports research in mice that found that since taking the ubiquinol directly keeps it at such high and lastingly high levels in your blood that both effects are so much better than taking nothing or even taking CoQ10 it almost stopped the aging in the mice entirely.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

3 more ways to fight colds & flu....

Today's Post: Thursday, 12-3-2009

Last Monday, 11-30, we posted on getting enough vitamin D3 & eating far less sugar and taking 200 mcg a day of selenium as each having preventive & protective effects that will help you avoid colds and flu or get milder & shorter versions. Taking 2,000 iu a day or more of vitamin D3 & eating far less sugar greatly strengthen your immune system; & the selenium either does that or has direct antiviral effects or both.

Here are 3 more ways to fight colds and flu.:

One of the health emails I get is from HSI in Baltimore. A week ago on Monday, 11-23-2009 they had

The more dangerous and slow to recover from colds and flu tend to impair your lung function.

This can lead to pneumonia or lung failure and death in addition to being slow to recover from if you survive.

We already posted that getting your pneumonia vaccine prevents the vast majority of bacterial pneumonia to prevent bacterial pneumonia from making this kind of cold or flu have lung complications from that source. You only need to get pneumonia vaccine every 10 years or a bit more & we strongly recommended it then & do now.

But there are also 3 ways to prevent the worst impact of colds and flu on your lungs and causing this kind of fluid build up -- two of which were in the HSI email.

1. HSI reported research from the University of Alabama shows that the H1N1 flu attacks the inner lining of your lungs with a protein called M2 which tends to prevent fluid removal from cells that line your lungs – AND that antioxidants from plant foods tend to prevent this and the damage it causes your lungs and your ability to breathe.

HSI had previously reported research showing that it was largely the carotenes and natural vitamin C that are the plant based antioxidants that largely do this job & protect lung function.

Carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, orange squash, many dark green greens, and broccoli have carotenes; and other research has found they have far more effective health benefits when eaten as food. There are multiple kinds of carotenes and by getting them together and with the vitamin C in those vegetables they seem to be MUCH more effective in boosting your immune system and other protective effects.

You also now get 5,000 iu a day of beta carotene in most multivitamins.

(Lastly, the animal form of vitamin A, retinol, also seems to work and keep your cells lining your lungs and other mucous membranes healthy. More than about 20,000 iu on a sustained basis is toxic if you keep taking it. But during cold & flu season, 5,000 or 10,000 iu a day may be beneficial.)

It also may help to take 2,000 mg a day or more of vitamin C as this has been found to have antibiotic effects.

2. HSI also reported that the research showing that vitamin C had this effect found that it was more effective even in people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease when people also got enough magnesium.

(200 mg to 600 mg a day of magnesium also helps prevent or reverse high blood pressure, prevent migraines, and prevent constipation & has multiple other health benefits.)

3. This next way to prevent fluid build up from colds or flu is one that was not in the HSI email; but is one we posted on before. The other way to fight this kind of fluid build up is to thin it out which allows it to be coughed up or reabsorbed by your body.

Eating hot peppers or foods spiced with them or with red pepper does the job.
It does work -- since people who eat this way rarely get bronchitis from colds or flu.

Even better, you can feel it working. When you eat that kind of hot food, whether Mexican or Chinese, you break into a mild sweat, your eyes water, your nose tends to run, AND any build up of think mucous in your nose – or lungs – tends to thin out and have more water content so your body can get rid of it!

Two important notes:

1. In some Chinese cooking they include the hot peppers themselves in the dish.
But do NOT eat them! The effect is like eating fire. It hurts like hell and can even damage your esophagus.

The oils in the food and the tiny pieces that drop off the peppers make the dish plenty hot.

2. If you overdo it, eating a bit of bread or drinking something with alcohol such as wine will remove the heat. The oils that carry the heat dissolve in the alcohol and/or are absorbed by the bread.

Drinking water has almost no effect on reducing the heat if you overdo eating hot peppers or food spiced with them. It neither dissolves the oils or absorbs them.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Think better, look better, & live longer....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 12-1-2009

Suppose you could ask a Genie to make you better able to think, reason, remember key facts, and make good decisions AND to be leaner and less fat AND to also look younger and live longer in good health. Truly you would think better, look better, and live longer.

It turns out you may be able to have ALL those things without the Genie.

The only bad news is that you do have to make an effort to get them. The good news is that the two things that do the job are tested to work!

1. Let’s start with look younger and live longer in good health. Research has already been done that shows that people who do regular exercise several times a week live longer (5 to 20 years longer) and in far better health than sedentary people. They also have stronger bones and muscles and carry less fat – and look healthier, trimmer, and better.

Research has just been published showing that the looking younger and living longer is no accident for people who do regular, vigorous exercise.

Yesterday, 11-30-2009, that I just saw online this morning, LiveScience.com has this headline:

“Exercise Prevents Aging of Cells.”

This research found that vigorous exercise prevents the shortening of telomeres, the part of your DNA that protects the ends of your chromosomes from damage, similar to the caps on the
ends shoelaces.

This is what causes aging; and when the telomeres become too short, the cell they are in dies.

The researchers measured the length of telomeres in people who did regular and vigorous exercise and two groups who were healthy & didn’t smoke, but who were not regular exercisers. The two groups who were healthy & didn’t smoke were matched in age with the exercisers to make the groups as comparable as possible.

"The most significant finding of this study is that physical exercise …. leads to activation of the important enzyme telomerase and stabilizes the telomere," said Ulrich Laufs, the study's lead author and professor of clinical and experimental medicine at Saarland University in Homburg, Germany.” He went on to say that, "This is direct evidence of an anti-aging effect of physical exercise,"

Note that this is IN ADDITION to the effects of vigorous exercise to release growth hormones that facilitate cellular repair all over your body and grow new brain cells; increasing HDL & lowering small particle LDL to protect your heart; increasing your circulation, and preventing excessively high levels of blood sugar and insulin to prevent type 2 diabetes, mental decline, and heart disease.

And, this is in addition to adding muscle and strengthening your bones so you can eat more without being fat AND reducing the amount of excess fat you have.

Now it seems that in addition to all that, regular and vigorous exercise slows or stops aging entirely to some degree.

The livescience.com article ended by saying the study will be published sometime this month, December, 2009, in Circulation, a journal from the American Heart Association.

A second article today noted that cardiovascular fitness was more effective than strength training in increasing your cognitive ability while other articles have described research showing that strength tended more to go with longevity.

Clearly, you get the best overall results by doing some exercise for cardio and some strength training each week. Three sessions of each every week is ideal. It even works to do 3 days of cardio & 2 of strength training each week. Lastly, interval cardio is more effective, gets you in shape faster, and is even safer to do than much longer sessions of endurance cardio. (It produces less osteoarthritis and overuse injuries for one thing.) If you have more time to exercise, go on hikes or brisk walks in addition to your interval cardio & strength training.

(The interval cardio can be done for very little money—less than $30; in a few minutes a day; and at home -- by using a jump rope and building up the intensity and to some extent the duration slowly and by continuing to do it.)

2. The second article was in the online health news on Yahoo earlier last month. On Thursday, 11-19-2009, HealthDay News had this headline: “Diet, Cognitive Ability May Play Role in Heart Disease.”

The study this story reported on found that older people who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and have good cognitive function are much less likely to die from heart disease than those who do not. (In addition to reading useful information like this post online, which has been shown to do so, you just saw that regular vigorous cardio helps to improve your cognitive ability.)

Researchers at the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia studied the data on 3,101 women & 1,778 men who were all 70 and older for an average of seven years.

The researchers found that the people who ate three or more servings of vegetables daily had a 30 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 15 percent lower risk of dying from any cause during the seven years than those who ate fewer vegetables each day.

They also found that fewer of those who ate more fruits and vegetables got cognitive impairment.

People who scored high on cognitive functions tests were less likely to die from heart disease or any other cause during the follow-up than were those with low scores.

This study was to be presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Separate studies have found that eating many kinds of vegetables most days is a more important key to good health than whether a person is “vegetarian” or eats meat.

We also know that organically raised vegetables contain literally hundreds of phytonutrients that have incredibly valuable health benefits from reducing the amount and intensity of allergies to preventing heart disease to preventing cancer. (Vegetables raised with pesticides and herbicides have some of these nutrients but tend to have much less of these valuable ingredients than the organically raised ones do.)

And, on top of all that, green and other nonstarchy vegetables fill you up with virtually no calories. So the more of them you eat, and 3 to 5 a day qualifies, the less fat you will wear. In fact eating MORE of them makes you a bit less hungry for all other kinds of foods with no further effort needed on your part. Some supplements may do this according to the new press on a couple of them. But they are a bit pricey. Drug companies are working on drugs to do this. But all drugs have some side effects and tend to be pricey as well.

Vegetables do a superb job of this and tend to be relatively inexpensive besides. Even better you can go to the store and buy them. They are available now.

So, doing regular, vigorous exercise and eating vegetables at a couple of meals each day may not SOUND incredible; and both things do take some effort. But not one person in 100 has a clue how powerful these two things really are.

Now you do!

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