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Increased Anxiety in America …Why?

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Anxiety is increasing and affecting more Americans than ever… Is it because we accept our disorders as normal and acceptable behavior? Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), anxiety disorders last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated. Anxiety disorders commonly occur along with other mental or physical illnesses, including alcohol or substance abuse, which may mask anxiety symptoms or make them worse. In some cases, these other illnesses need to be treated before a person will respond to treatment for the anxiety disorder.

Effective therapies for anxiety disorders are available, and research is uncovering new treatments that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives. If you think you have an anxiety disorder, you should seek information and treatment right away.

Your doctor or health professional should:

• Describe the symptoms of anxiety disorders
• Explain the role of research in understanding the causes of these conditions
• Describe effective treatments
• Help you learn how to obtain treatment and work with a doctor or therapist
• Suggest ways to make treatment more effective

Other anxiety disorders are:

• Panic disorder
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
• Social phobia (or social anxiety disorder)
• Specific phobias
• Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread. Panic disorder is a real illness that can be successfully treated. It is characterized by sudden attacks of terror, usually accompanied by a pounding heart, sweatiness, weakness, faintness, or dizziness. During these attacks, people with panic disorder may flush or feel chilled; their hands may tingle or feel numb; and they may experience nausea, chest pain, or smothering sensations. Panic attacks usually produce a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control. A fear of one’s own unexplained physical symptoms are also a symptom of panic disorder. People having panic attacks sometimes believe they are having heart attacks, losing their minds, or on the verge of death. They can’t predict when or where an attack will occur, and between episodes many worry intensely and dread the next attack. Panic attacks can occur at any time, even during sleep. An attack usually peaks within 10 minutes, but some symptoms may last much longer.

Panic disorder affects about 6 million American adults1 and is twice as common in women as men. Panic attacks often begin in late adolescence or early adulthood, but not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder. Many people have just one attack and never have another. The tendency to develop panic attacks appears to be inherited.

People who have full-blown, repeated panic attacks can become very disabled by their condition and should seek treatment before they start to avoid places or situations where panic attacks have occurred. For example, if a panic attack happened in an elevator, someone with panic disorder may develop a fear of elevators that could affect the choice of a job or an apartment, and restrict where that person can seek medical attention or enjoy entertainment.

Some people’s lives become so restricted that they avoid normal activities, such as grocery shopping or driving. About one-third become housebound or are able to confront a feared situation only when accompanied by a spouse or other trusted person. 2 When the condition progresses this far, it is called agoraphobia, or fear of open spaces.

Early treatment can often prevent agoraphobia, but people with panic disorder may sometimes go from doctor to doctor for years and visit the emergency room repeatedly before someone correctly diagnoses their condition. This is unfortunate, because panic disorder is one of the most treatable of all the anxiety disorders, responding in most cases to certain kinds of medication or certain kinds of cognitive psychotherapy, which help change thinking patterns that lead to fear and anxiety.

Panic disorder is often accompanied by other serious problems, such as depression, drug abuse, or alcoholism. These conditions need to be treated separately. Symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness or hopelessness, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, low energy, and difficulty concentrating. Most people with depression can be effectively treated with antidepressant medications, certain types of psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.

Here's to your wellness,

Cut Sugar, Shed Pounds

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What could the American Heart Association have been thinking back in 2010 when it recommended that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar every day and women limit themselves to a scant 6 teaspoons? After all, a teaspoon of sugar only packs about 17 calories, so how much damage can a few teaspoons really do to America’s collective waistline? And how bad can sugar really be if the U.S. government pays growers nearly $2 billion annually to keep bringing it to our tables?

Farming subsidies and the associated politics aside, sugar has recently garnered the attention of scientists who probably aren’t impressed by the bucolic vista of a sugar beet or cane field. Those researchers have been churning out lots of data about sugar – and the news isn’t good.

Table sugar, or sucrose, is a disaccharide composed of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose. As soon as sucrose hits your small intestine it is rapidly broken into its constituent monosaccharides and absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, glucose barrels into your circulation; fructose gets sequestered in your liver, where it can be converted to glucose, stored as glycogen, or transformed into fatty acids and triglycerides.

One of the immediate effects of a rising blood glucose level is an outpouring of insulin from your pancreas. Insulin drives glucose into your cells – mainly those in muscle, liver, and fat – where it can be used for energy or stored as glycogen or fat. Because the glucose from table sugar hits your bloodstream so quickly, your system sees a “spike” of insulin every time you guzzle a soft drink or slurp down a bowlful of breakfast cereal. Since one of insulin’s primary effects is to make your cells store fat, an insulin spike is not a good thing for someone who’s trying to lose weight.

As for the fructose you get from a spoonful of sugar, your liver will convert it to glycogen and squirrel it away if it’s short on energy stores. However, this doesn’t take long, especially in well-fed individuals…like most Americans. Thus, it only takes a small amount of sugar in your diet to ramp up your liver’s triglyceride-making machinery. All of the resulting triglycerides are then either stored in your liver, where they can contribute to fatty liver disease, or they get dumped into your bloodstream and transported to your hips, abdomen, breasts, or wherever else your body likes to store fat.

Depending on your personal metabolic makeup, then, even a little sugar could frustrate your efforts to lose weight. And it could have even more serious long-term health effects. A compelling body of evidence suggests that excess sugar consumption (i.e., more than those 6 to 9 teaspoons daily) increases your risk for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease.

It’s a good thing “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”: America’s love affair with sweets might have a lot of us visiting our favorite pharmacies fairly regularly.  

Here's to your wellness,


How Probiotics Work

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Probiotics are live, single cell, microscopic bacteria that are beneficial for the body. The word “probiotic” is from the Latin “for life.” While they are most commonly associated with gastrointestinal health, research and practice has demonstrated the potential for probiotics in the field of immunology and study of allergies.

With our hand sanitizers in tow, it seems we are always on the hunt to kill bacteria that might cause us to become ill. It might overwhelm you to know that the number of bacterial microbes in the human body is in the quadrillions (that’s 1,000,000,000,000,000 bacterial cells!) divided into 1,000 bacterial species found primarily in the mouth, gastrointestinal tract and vagina. In the 25-35 feet of the gastrointestinal tract alone, there are 400 species of bacterium. Some of these are beneficial to human health while others cause harm. One of the most important jobs probiotics perform is to create a barrier against harmful bacterium and viruses. Others help to defend the body by overpowering invading organisms.

An overview of positive functions that probiotics contribute include: breaking down food for digestion; providing the lactase enzyme in order to help digest milk sugars; contributing vitamins in the intestinal tract; helping the gastrointestinal tract maintain an optimal pH that is not too acidic that would damage tissues and organs; alleviate lactose intolerance; decrease and prevent diarrhea; increase the body’s immune system; decrease inflammation not only in the gastrointestinal tract but throughout the body; prevent allergic reactions; and decrease chronic constipation.

Specific situations will upset the body’s equilibrium of healthy bacterium. One is the overuse of antibiotics. Antibiotics do kill illness-causing bacteria that make us sick; unfortunately, they also destroy all other life around it, specifically the probiotics in the gastrointestinal tract. One especially predatory bacterial illness, often found in nursing homes and hospitals, is Clostridium difficil, or C. difficil.  Patients who are on long-term antibiotics are vulnerable to C. difficile because it attacks individuals whose protective gastrointestinal bacteria has been wiped out. Part of the treatment involves introducing probiotics back into the system. Taking helpful oral probiotics can help the beneficial bacteria overpower the harmful bacteria more effectively than prescription yeast infection medications.

The symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, which present problems for thousands of individuals for whom doctors cannot offer any specific treatment, can be alleviated significantly by certain probiotics. Patients have found a decrease in intestinal pain as well as stomach pain and overall discomfort.
   
Current medical research into the value of using probiotics is making progress in certain hard to treat illnesses like Ulcerative Colitis and Eczema. In treating any specific illness, you must use the specific fresh, live probiotic for that illness. Taking probiotic supplements and eating probiotic rich foods like yogurt with live cultures is good for you, but it won’t cure a specific complaint.

Here's to your wellness,


Water's Not Just for Drinking

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Ok so water isn’t the number one drink in the U.S.—soft drinks currently hold the crown, but this beneficial base for all beverages runs a close second to soft drinks thanks to thanks to all out war on sugar-laden drinks and aggressive bottled water companies that have made it easy to drink plenty of H2O on the go. Many Americans now follow the advice “drink eight to ten glasses a day” to avoid dehydration, energize the muscles, rid the body of toxins, and keep skin looking healthy. But did you know that water offers an endless number of other benefits that have nothing to do with drinking it?

From your local YMCA to 24 Hour Fitness, water is one of the most utilized forms of resistance in group fitness classes across the U.S. You may have seen them on your monthly class schedule or on a bulletin board with names like aqua aerobics, warm water exercise, water fitness, and HydroRide. Besides offering one of the safest forms of resistance for all levels, water exercise classes such as these can help relieve symptoms associated with conditions from arthritis to fibromyalgia to stiff and stubborn joints. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), water-based exercise improves the health of diabetes and heart disease patients, it can improve bone health, assist in healing injuries, and it can decrease anxiety and depression.

What’s even better about water-based exercise is you don’t have to engage in hours and hours of activity to reap the benefits. The CDC states that just two and a half hours per week of aerobic exercise (such as water-based exercise), can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses. Most group classes last an hour, so logging 2.5 should be easy, especially if you have access to a health club or a YMCA. You can even do aqua aerobics on your own in any of the environments listed, or at your local public pool or the beach!

So, what’s the best water-based exercise? All are excellent options, but let’s talk a bit about HydroRide. Water resistance is around 12 times greater than air resistance. HydroRide combines this water resistance with a stainless steel “hydrobike” to create an intense form of exercise that conditions the body from head to toe. It’s like taking a spinning class—but the pool is your studio.

HydroRide is highly effective for a number of reasons. The use of underwater exercise machines allows the muscles to be exercised in all directions. The natural buoyancy of water supports the body while moving the arms and legs is equivalent to exercising with weights. The end result? The muscles involved receive a more comprehensive workout and are not isolated as with typical dry land exercise routines. In addition, there’s no forward impact on the joints. This is a plus for those with sensitive joints and injured athletes. The use of freestanding underwater fitness equipment allows these individuals to continue working out through even the toughest injuries.

HydroRide consists of a 15-minute warm-up of low intensity cycling and arm movements designed to get the heart rate up and increase circulation. For the next 30 minutes or so, riders slowly increase resistance and engage in more aggressive moves such as sprints and jumps. In addition, webbed gloves and water weights are used with arm movements to work the biceps, triceps, shoulders, and forearms. The lower back and abs get a challenging workout as well due to water resistance.

At the end of the workout, slow cycling and stretching moves help to cool down and release tension in the joints. Crunch Fitness Center (where HydroRide made its debut) estimates that HydroRiders burn an average of 600 calories per hour, but everyone's metabolism is different. Keep in mind, however, that even if you don't burn 600 calories during class, exercise at any level still helps increase metabolism, muscle mass, bone density, and it releases endorphins—the body’s natural pain killers.

So far, Hydrobikes cost around $800 each. No word yet on when they'll become available to the public. Until then, check your local health club, YMCA, game center, park district, or rehab institute to find out if they offer HydroRide. If they don’t, chances are another type of water-based class will be on the menu.

Here's to your wellness,


Stretching: The Key to an Effective Workout

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Stretching (strech•ing): Any activity that singularly promotes flexibility by increasing range of motion through movement and formal stretching techniques such as static (reach-and-hold) and ballistic (stretch-reflex) stretches.

Back in the 80s when high-energy aerobics dominated the fitness landscape, it was believed that running, jumping, or sweating up a storm alone were the only paths to physical fitness. Today, physical fitness has less to do with sprints and sweat storms and more to do with total body conditioning, strengthening, and sculpting. Fitness has evolved into a physical, mental, and spiritual journey, and today’s top trainers agree that fitness is a complete package of elements—and it's a lot more fun!

There are three major elements to achieving the maximum benefits from your workout:

-Cardiovascular Exercise
-Strength Training
-Flexibility

Cardiovascular exercise helps maintain a healthy heart and a healthy weight. In addition, cardio exercise helps to stave off the ravages of sedentary lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The significance of cardiovascular exercise (along with a healthy diet, and the other elements listed) prompted the Surgeon General to issue this warning:“Not exercising can be hazardous to your health.”
 
The Surgeon General expounds on the importance of cardiovascular exercise and how to reap the most benefits:

“Some physical activity is better than none, and more is even better. Physical activity should not be viewed as an all-or-nothing venture; this mindset welcomes barriers and, ultimately, inactivity. Research shows that at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (or an equivalent combination of the two) each week consistently reduces the risk of many chronic diseases and adverse health events among adults. Doubling those numbers to 300 and 150 minutes per week, respectively (or an equivalent combination), is associated with additional and more extensive health benefits.”

Strength training has become an integral part of a good exercise regimen as well for several reasons. The muscle gained from weight bearing exercise boosts metabolism and helps burn fat. Simply put, with continued strength training, muscle gradually replaces fat and that muscle continues to help burn fat. Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that strength training helps reduce the signs and symptoms of diseases and chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis.

The Surgeon General recommends adding strength training to your routine two or more days per week to enjoy maximum benefits. 

Flexibility is the one element that's often overlooked. Some people may feel that a half-hearted attempt at a few floppy arm stretches or clumsy leg moves is enough to stretch the muscles before and after a somewhat rigorous exercise routine. What they don’t realize is stretching is absolutely necessary before and after any form of exercise.

Stretching major muscle groups is essential to any exercise program and for optimal physical health particularly since tight muscles can cause you to exercise and move incorrectly by shifting body weight and motion to other muscles. Also, if a muscle isn't used enough it tends to become shorter, tighter and much weaker. This happens gradually over time, leaving many adults vulnerable to connective tissue injuries, back pain or chronic muscle overuse/overstress.

Aesthetically speaking, stretching on a regular basis lengthens muscles, which prevents them from becoming bulky. This is good news for women that don’t care for the “muscley” look. Stretching also gives the body a more lean or toned look and it improves posture and balance.

So how does stretching help accomplish all of these wonderful things? Stretching causes the elastic connective tissue (called the fascia) surrounding a muscle to lengthen. Stretching on a daily or near daily basis can make the entire muscle longer. Any Pilates practitioner can attest to this as one of the side effects of Pilates is a longer body—however slight.

For stretching to have a permanent effect, the connective tissue must be warmed-up first either through a heating device (this is common in physical therapy situations) or physical activity. Try running on a treadmill or pavement for 5-10 minutes (give it your all) or biking (stationary or other wise). Experts agree that stretching is always best after a brief warm-up.

Here are a few tips for stretching:

• You should incorporate stretching into your strengthening workout a bare minimum of three times a week. Stretching before and after every workout is always a better.

• Technique is extremely important. Moves should be slow and gentle. The body should not be forced into position. Once in position, don't bounce as this may make the muscle tighter or even cause injury. As you relax into the stretch, the amount of stretch may increase. It takes at least 20 seconds for the muscle to begin relaxing, which is why a minimum of 20 seconds is necessary for any stretch. As your muscles continue to relax into the stretch, consider extending the time commitment to a minute or so.

• Breathing correctly helps relax the muscles even further. As you inhale deeply, visualize the new supply of oxygen going directly to the area you are stretching. On a slow exhale, feel yourself melting into the stretch. Always come out of the stretch in a slow and controlled motion.

• Always work at your own pace to ensure safety for yourself. Never compare your flexibility to anyone else’s. A safe stretch generally feels good, especially if you keep it in your comfort range each time. This will increase if you are stretching on a regular basis.

And finally, remember—stretch slowly, holding and releasing slowly, and breathe.

Here's to your wellness,


Fat Frying Fitness Foods

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After you have eaten a meal, your body uses energy to process the nutrients. This causes an increase in your rate of metabolism known as the thermic effect. Some types of food have a greater thermic effect than others, meaning that they increase the rate of resting metabolism, helping burn calories a little faster. Adding more of these foods to your diet can increase your metabolic rate, helping you maintain a healthy weight. Here’s a rundown on some of the most thermic foods.

Whole Grains

Whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal put your body to work burning twice as many calories as other foods.

High-fiber Carbs

You can boost your metabolism by increasing your daily consumption of high-fiber carbs such as yams, multigrain cereal, pears, apples, cantaloupes, oranges, asparagus, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, and grapefruit.

Green Tea

Green tea contains chemicals called catechins as well as caffeine. Both of these can increase thermic effect, and in combination, may also boost each others effect.

Protein

A diet that is high in protein is has a greater thermic effect that one which is high in fats or carbs. Around 30 percent of the calories in high-protein food is burned during digestion. Good sources of protein include eggs, nuts, legumes, lean red meat and poultry.

Hot Peppers

You can kick your metabolism up a notch with red peppers. If you can stand the heat, jalapenos, habaneros, cayenne and paprika are particularly beneficial.

Foods to Avoid

Some foods have a very low thermic effect, such as fats. These have only 3 percent effect, which is why they are so easily stored in the body. Simple carbs also have little thermic effect. Avoid foods containing saturated fats, processed foods with a high content of refined sugar, commercially baked goods like cookies, crackers and cake, and fried foods.

Try including these in your diet to rev up your metabolism and burn calories quickly!

Here's to your wellness,


Facts about Trans Fats

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Researchers have discovered that fat is an important part of a healthy diet. Increased evidence presents that many fats are healthy to ingest and actually reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Healthy fats also help our glucose and insulin metabolism and therefore contribute to our goals of long-term weight loss and weight maintenance. Furthermore, healthy fats make foods taste better they help us enjoy the journey to a healthier lifestyle. However, all fats are not the same--there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats.

Healthy fats include monounsaturated fats, found in coconut, olive and canola oils, peanuts and other nuts, peanut butter, and avocados. Monounsaturated fats lower total LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol - which accumulates in and clogs artery walls--while maintaining levels of HDL (healthy) cholesterol, which carries cholesterol from artery walls and delivers it to the liver for disposal.

Omega-3 fatty acids - polyunsaturated fats found in cold-water fish, canola oil, flax-seeds, walnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts--also count as good fat. Recent studies have shown that populations that eat more omega-3s, such as Eskimos (whose diets are heavy on fish), have fewer serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. There is evidence that omega-3 oils help prevent or treat depression, arthritis, asthma, and colitis and help prevent cardiovascular deaths.

Unhealthy fats include saturated fats - the heart-clogging kind found in butter, fatty red meats, and full-fat dairy products. Very unhealthy fats are the man made trans fats. Trans fats, which are created when hydrogen gas reacts with oil, are found in many packaged foods, including margarine, cookies, cakes, cake icings, doughnuts, and potato chips. Trans fats are worse than saturated fats; they are unhealthy for our blood vessels, nervous systems, and waistline.

Technical Trans Fat Facts

Trans fatty acids (TFAs) - - These are also commonly known as trans fats. They are formed during the process of making cooking oils, margarine, and shortening and are in commercially fried foods, baked goods, cookies, and crackers. Some are naturally found in small amounts in some animal products, such as beef, pork, lamb, and the butterfat in butter and milk. In studies, TFAs tend to raise our total blood cholesterol. TFAs also tend to raise LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol and lower HDL (healthy) cholesterol. One study found that the four main sources of trans fatty acids in women’s diets come from margarine, meat (beef, pork, or lamb), cookies, and white bread. At this time, TFAs are not listed on nutrition labels, but that will soon change. Although it might take a couple of years to begin seeing it, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now asking food manufacturers to begin labeling TFA content. And some food manufacturers are announcing they are taking TFAs out of their food.

Fats are required by the body to function properly. Besides being energy source, fat is a nutrient that has the component required in the production of cell membranes, as well as in several hormone-like compounds called eicosanoids. These compounds help regulate blood pressure, heart rate, blood vessel constriction, blood clotting and the nervous system. In addition, dietary fat is essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins - vitamins A, D, E and K - from the food into the body. Fat also helps maintain healthy hair and skin, protects vital organs, keeps your body insulated, and provides satiety - a sense of fullness after meals.

However, too much fat can have negative impact on health. Eating large amounts of high-fat foods adds excess calories, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. High-fat foods add weight and excess burden on health.

Here's to your wellness,


Mind Power Foods

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When you need to share your problems with someone who truly feels your pain, choose a friend who is vegan or vegetarian. According to a new study by a group of European researchers, people who don't eat meat are more empathetic to the suffering of others.  

The investigators recruited 60 subjects—20 omnivores, 19 vegetarians and 21 vegans—and conducted a series of tests aimed at measuring empathy. On a written test—the empathy quotient questionnaire—the vegetarians and vegans scored significantly higher than the omnivores. There were also striking differences in neural activity when the subjects viewed images of human suffering and animal suffering.

Using brain scans, the researchers showed that “empathy related” areas of the brain were more active among the vegetarians and vegans in comparison to the meat-eaters as they viewed the images depicting both human and animal suffering. In addition, when viewing images of animal suffering, the vegetarians and vegans experienced activity in empathy-related areas of their brains that weren’t affected by the images of human suffering.

The study is preliminary with a number of design weaknesses, but it adds support to the idea that vegetarians may just be different from the rest of the population—and in a good way. For example, earlier research suggests that kids with higher IQs are more likely to grow up to be vegetarian.

That people who make the most compassionate lifestyle choices happen to be smarter and more empathetic than their peers shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you are part of the smart and empathetic crowd but haven’t yet gone vegan, here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Foods Rich in Healthy Fats

Your mental system requires foods rich in healthy fats in order to stay in top gear. The most important type of fat nutrient it requires is known as Omega-3 fatty acid. This is a real miracle food nutrient that helps a lot in improving your brain and every aspect of your mental system. The best sources for Omega-3 fatty acid include fishes such as Salmon, Albacore Tuna. It can also be gotten from Flax-seed oil, Canola oil, Walnuts, Eggs and other sources.

2. Foods Rich in Antioxidants

The human mind also needs special foods items rich in antioxidants in order to stay healthy. In most cases, antioxidants help a lot in dealing with free radicals and other toxins that may harm your mental system. There are several sources for antioxidants. You can easily get that from Blueberries, Broccoli, Carrots, Garlic, Red Grapes, Spinach, Tomatoes and Whole grains. Antioxidants are also contained in some tea products such as Ginger tea, Lemon Tea, Green tea, and so on. When you take such teas every morning, your mental system is sure to be improved.

3. Foods Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

If you must improve Mind power, there's every need for you to eat foods rich in minerals and vitamins. These two nutrients are very vital for maintaining sound mental system. Apart from that, they are also very important for the nourishment of your body. Among the basic Vitamins required for mind improvement include Vitamins B6, B12, C and E. The basic sources of Minerals and Vitamins include fruits, vegetables and other food items.

In all, the above are the 3 sets of miracle food items you need to be taking often in order to improve your mind power. Apart from the 3 discussed above, there are other food nutrients you need. Your mind needs protein which can be gotten from dairy products and eggs. It also needs some levels of carbohydrate, iron, calcium, fiber and other nutrients.

Again, you need to take enough water often in order to boost your mind power.

Drink 8 glasses day to keep you hydrated all day. This is sure to help you a lot in the process.

Finally, you can only improve mind power when you take the miracle food items on daily basis. They ought to form part of your daily balanced diet. You may need to consult a dietician to help you plan the diet. You also need to have enough sleep on daily basis in order to augment the efforts of the food items. With these pieces of information discussed here, you're sure to maintain a healthy mind at all times.

Here's to your wellness,


How Much Should I Hydrate Every Day?

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There are different recommendations for water intake each day. Most people have been told they should be drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is a reasonable goal. However, different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough. Other people may need more than 8 glasses each day.

Some people are at higher risk of dehydration, including those who get a lot of exercise, have certain medical conditions, are sick, or are not able to get enough fluids during the course of the day. Older adults are also at higher risk. As you age, your brain may be unable to sense dehydration and send the signals for thirst.

If you are concerned that you may not be drinking enough water, check your urine. If your urine is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated. On other hand, if your urine is dark and malodorous you may need to increase your daily water intake.

You may need to increase the amount of water you are drinking if you:

• Have certain medical conditions, such as kidney stones or bladder infection
• Are pregnant or breastfeeding
• Are going to be outside during hot weather
• Are going to be exercising
• Have a fever, or have been vomiting or have diarrhea
• Are attempting to lose weight

Body Water Balance

Body water balance represents the net difference between fluid intake and loss. Normal body water turnover in a sedentary adult is from 1 to 3 L/day, the range accountable primarily to differences in insensible water loss, or the evaporation of moisture from the skin. Large variations in fluid intake are controlled by the kidneys, which can produce more or less urine, depending on changes in body fluid volumes. Water loss in air exhaled from the lungs is often ignored with respect to water balance because it is usually offset by water production occurring during aerobic metabolism. Over the course of a day, humans usually regulate daily body water balance remarkably well as a result of thirst and hunger drives coupled with free access to food and beverage. This is accomplished by physiological responses to changes in body water volume and to changes in concentrations of dissolved substances in body fluids, as well as by non-regulatory social-behavioral factors, such as drinking fluids at meetings and parties.

Although minor perturbations in daily body water balance are easily restored to normalcy, the imposition of exercise and environmental stress onto daily activity can seriously threaten fluid balance homeostasis, performance, and health. Abating these consequences is the underlying and unifying basis for developing guidelines for fluid intake before, during, and after exercise, but hydration assessment remains a key component for ensuring full re-hydration in athletes performing frequent and intense exercise in hot weather.

The selection of an appropriate hydration assessment method is a controversial aspect of fluid balance science. All hydration assessment techniques vary greatly in their applicability due to methodological limitations such as the necessary circumstances for measurement (reliability), ease and cost of application (simplicity), sensitivity for detecting small, but meaningful changes in hydration status (accuracy), and the type of dehydration anticipated.

Most circumstances involving strenuous physical exercise require the formation and vaporization of sweat as a principal means of heat removal. When sweat losses produce a body water deficit, the reduced volume of body fluids contains a greater than normal concentration of dissolved substances such as sodium and potassium; this is known as hyper-tonic hypo-volemia, the norm for dehydrated athletes. Clinical hydration assessment techniques for detecting changes in hydration status rely heavily on this alteration in body fluid chemistry.

Here's to your wellness,


Natural Appetite Suppressant Foods

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If you fancy yourself a diligent dieter, then you don’t have to down a diet pill to tame your appetite. Sure, powerful anorectics such as phentermine and amphetamines do work short term, but stop taking them and your normal appetite will return with a vengeance. Take any synthetic appetite suppressant long term and you can count on some disturbing side effects such as dizziness, diarrhea, heart palpitations, insomnia, elevated blood pressure, and even impotence. Fortunately, many natural appetite suppressant foods will do the trick for just about any dieter on a mission.

From American staples such as red delicious apples to exotic Asian edibles such as umeboshi plums, the world is filled with deliciously healthy foods that satiate for hours longer than your average pasta dinner. Whether you’re looking to shed just a few pounds or more than 50, the 24 foods listed below are just a few that can help you reach your goal.

Almonds, Coffee, Green Leafy Vegetables, Salmon, Vegetable Juice, Apples, Dark Chocolate, Green Tea, Skim Milk, Avocado, Eggs, Hot Sauce, Sweet Potatoes, Wasabi, Cayenne Pepper, Flax Seeds, Oatmeal, Tofu, Water, Cinnamon, Ginger, Salad, Umeboshi Plums,   Whey Protein

Let’s look at a few favorites and how they work:

Almonds are rich with antioxidants. Just a handful increases feelings of fullness so you’ll eat less.

Apples take forever to eat. This gives the body time to receive the message that it’s full. Apples boost energy levels and regulate glucose. Whether sweet or tart, apples are also chock full of soluble fiber and pectin—things that make you feel full.

Cayenne Pepper, lemon, and hone
y—this is one of today’s most popular crash diets among celebrities. Though extreme, the cayenne pepper component holds water. Cayenne pepper gives the metabolism a huge boost. Just one teaspoon helps the body burn an extra 10 calories. This super spicy pepper also cuts an average of 60 calories from the next meal.

Coffee (caffeine) and the antioxidants from the coffee beans help boost metabolism and suppress the appetite.

Dark Chocolate (made of at least 70 percent cocoa) contains stearic acid. Stearic acid slows digestion and helps you feel full longer. The bitter taste also sends a signal to the body telling it to decrease the appetite.

Ginger (pure ginger) is a stimulant. It increases energy and improves digestion leading to a less hungry you. 

Green Tea contains catechins, which hinder migration of glucose into the body’s fat cells. This slows the rise of blood sugar, so it remains stable. When blood sugar is stable, your appetite stabilizes as well. 

Oatmeal (particularly steel cut oats) packs a double punch. Oats are slow digesting, which makes you feel full longer. They also suppress the annoying hunger hormone “ghrelin.”

Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help increase the appetite suppressing hormone “leptin.”

Water helps the body feel full without adding calories. Drink two 8 oz. glasses before each meal and you’ll cut an impressive 75 to 90 calories per sitting.

By incorporating these foods into your life you can help tame your appetite and suppress spikes of hunger.

Here's to your wellness,


Just How Important Is My BMI?

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Few acronyms have gained as much notoriety as “BMI,” and it’s no wonder: over two thirds of Americans are overweight, and many of us calculate our body mass index to determine where we are on the spectrum of…well, fatness. Once you know your BMI, you have a clear idea of whether you’re underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese, and you can gauge your risk for acquiring certain diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer.

Or can you?

Although BMI has its uses, it’s far from perfect. BMI has become so popular mainly because it is easy to calculate: you measure your height, you measure your weight, and you plug the two numbers into a mathematical formula that spits out your BMI. In fact, if you look up “BMI” online, you’ll find calculators that will do the math for you. (For those who are mathematically inclined, the formulas for calculating your BMI in metric and avoirdupois systems, respectively, are: BMI = mass (kg) ÷ (height [meters])2 ; BMI = 703 x [mass (lb) ÷ (height[inches])2)

Before you consult the nearest computer to crank out your own BMI, though, it may interest you to know that the result of that calculation may not accurately reflect your true body composition. If you happen to be a well-muscled athlete (male or female), your BMI might indicate that you’re overweight when, in fact, you have very little body fat. Individuals with more robust skeletons (i.e., “big-boned” people) tend to have higher BMIs, too. And if you have a condition that causes you to retain fluid, such as heart failure or liver disease, your BMI is practically meaningless.

Furthermore, the formula we currently use for calculating BMI is flawed. When Adolphe Quetelet (the “father of BMI”) originally devised his method for quantifying variations in human body weight in 1832, his formula was slightly more complicated than today’s cipher: Quetelet used exponents that varied from 2.3 to 2.7, rather than the simple square. If you’re a numbers fanatic you’ll understand the consequences of such a tweak in the denominator of a mathematical formula. Suffice it to say that Dr. Quetelet probably wouldn’t have calculated your BMI the same way your physician did.

Besides, BMI was never really intended to diagnose individual obesity. It is far more useful for following weight trends in a population, which was its original purpose.  In this setting, individual inconsistencies tend to get cancelled out by statistical trends. Even when it’s appropriately used to track groups of people, BMI cutoff values for a given demographic group may need to be adjusted to account for traits that are unique to that group. Despite the limitations of BMI, however, it is still widely used to diagnose individual weight disorders.

Ultimately, BMI provides only a rough estimate of a person’s body composition, and it might not provide any meaningful information about a given individual’s health risks. Clearly, someone with a BMI over 30 (the cutoff for frank obesity) is likely to be confronting some health issues, but other indicators — waist-to-hip ratio, for instance — might be more useful assessment tools.

Here's to your wellness,


Six Secrets to Firing Up Your Metabolism

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Everyone who is determined to lose weight and keep it off should know the secrets to firing up your metabolism. How quickly your body burns calories depends on a number of critical factors including:

• Your genes—some people are born with a speedier metabolism than others.
• Your gender—men burn calories faster than women even when they are resting.
• Your age—your metabolism starts to slow down after the age of 40.

By paying attention to your daily diet and lifestyle habits you can take control of your metabolism and encourage it to work in your favor. Here are six guaranteed ways to boost your metabolism and burn more calories.

Start the Day Right

The first step to kicking your metabolism up a notch is starting the day with a healthy breakfast, every day. If you skip this important meal, you’ll drive your body into starvation mode and your metabolism will slow to a crawl to conserve energy. You should aim to get between 22 – 40 percent of your daily caloric intake at this first sitting; this will help you avoid gaining weight over time. Scrambled eggs and oats ate the perfect way to start any day.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water throughout the day will help keep your metabolism up to pace, If you drink your water icy cold, this will increase your metabolism slightly as your body works to warm your core temperature.
 
Protein-up for Lunch

A protein-packed lunch will help you maintain lean muscle and muscle burns a higher amount of calories than fat does, when when you’re resting. You should aim for around 40 grams of protein with your lunchtime meal. That’s the equivalent of a 4oz boneless chicken breast or a cup of low-fat cottage cheese.

Sip Some Green Tea

Replace your late or coffee with green tea. This delicious drink provides a great boost to your metabolism and is packed with antioxidants to keep your immune system healthy. Studies show that drinking three to five cups of green tea each day may reduce your body weight by over 4 percent in just 12 weeks.

Spice Up your Life

Adding spice to your meals can also help your body burn calories faster. Peppers like chilies and jalapenos are rich in a compound called capsaicin; this is what gives them their kick. According to the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, eating a teaspoonful of mashed green or red chili before a meal can produce up to a 23 percent spike in your metabolism.

Switch your Pace

When you’re working out, don’t be tempted to go full speed ahead just to get it over with. Alternating a steady paced cardio with short, quicker bursts of activity kicks your metabolism up a notch and help your burn more calories over the long term.

Amp up your metabolism by using these helpful tips and you will see results before you know it!

Here's to your wellness,


Truth About Belly Fat

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Constantly, we see a downpour of ads claiming the benefits of certain supplements will “burn away belly fat”. As good as it sounds and as easy as it would be, the truth about belly fat is there is no such supplement that burns, blocks, or dissolves belly fat. Belly fat is a clear indicator that you are a greater health risks. Deep belly fat (the kind that makes for a classic beer belly) actually churns out proteins and hormones that make all kinds of bad things worse, including unhealthy cholesterol (LDL), blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides. It's also a major cause of insulin resistance and inflammation.

Losing belly fat is not only an issue of what kind of food you eat, it is also extremely important to eat certain foods at a certain time, the type of food you eat affects whether belly fat stays or goes. In a study, two groups of people ate the same number of calories. One group got their carbs from refined grains, the other from beans and whole grains. The latter group lost more belly fat. You can, too! Replace two servings a day of refined grains (e.g., white bread, white pasta) with a couple servings of satisfying lentils, chickpeas, or kidney beans.

In a study in which obese people consumed either 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or a placebo each day, the apple cider vinegar group shed more body and belly fat than people who took the placebo -- even though everyone was on the same diet and did the same workout. Don't take it straight. Eat it with food, like on salad or mixed with beans or blended in a healthy sauce.

Movement: The original fat burner

Lying around the house or sitting comfortably in your easy chair instead of involving yourself in a physically active routine, is easily the way to continue to accumulate more belly fat. Movement is key to getting rid of unwanted belly fat and preventing additional belly fat. Crunches can firm up the muscles under your fat and keep your core strong, and that's important for many reasons. But they won't make that fat magically vanish on their own, and magically turn into muscle. To reduce or rid yourself of excess belly fat, you need regular aerobic exercise, such as walking and other simple but effective movements. Exercising can have an even more significant result when drinking green tea as a part of your regimen. Now, this doesn’t mean any green tea, I mean the herbal tea that has not been refined or processed. So, green tea in those fancy bottles with attractive labeling, are not just green tea. A very effective component in green tea called catechins, a compound in green tea, may boost your body's calorie- and fat-burning mechanisms. It takes about 7 cups a day, but that's not as much as it sounds. A large glass of iced tea often contains about 3 cups of liquid.

Change a few habits

Use a tape measure instead of a scale. This is a better way to monitor belly fat because everybody's weight tends to fluctuate a little from day to day and watching your waistline is a more accurate view of potential health risks. Television is one of the most favored pass-times and instant entertainment, however, people who cut their TV time in half consume 100 fewer calories a day without even trying. That's a pound every 35 days or about 10 pounds a year. Calories, coupled with stress combines for a bigger your waist. Stress makes the hormone cortisol climb, which makes you crave high-calorie snacks that get stored in your belly as fat. Studies have shown that people who eat six small meals a day have smaller waists than people who eat two or three large meals a day. Of course, "small" is the key. To rid belly fat for good, reduce and eventually eliminate sugar, syrups, and saturated and trans fats, and replace them with whole grains, vegetable proteins, fiber, exercise, and adequate rest.

Staying active is key to keeping in shape. By eating right and exercising you can whittle away your middle in no time!

Here's to your wellness,


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