Get Fit For Life

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It’s time to stop making the same old excuses about your unhealthy diet and your poor exercise regime and get fit for life. No matter what your age, exercise is not only beneficial, but essential for good health. Insufficient exercise and poor diet are the second largest underlying cause of death in the United States. Regular exercise can also help prevent or delay many diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Exercise will also give you more energy and make you feel more cheerful.

The easiest way to make exercise a part of your daily routine it to finds things you will enjoy, such as a walking the local park or hiking trail, take dance glasses, join a cycling club. Do several different types of exercise each week so that you don’t get bored.

You should do at least thirty minutes of physical activity that makes you breathe harder than normal, each day. You don’t have to do the whole thirty minutes at the same time. If you don’t have a half-hour opening during the day, break your exercise down into ten minute sessions. Don’t push yourself to hard. Most medical experts point out that if you can talk without any trouble while exercising, you are not working hard enough, but if you can’t talk at all, you’re over doing it.

Tips For Exercising Safely

• Start slowly and build up gradually, that way you’ll steadily increase your stamina and avoid injury.

• Always warm up before you begin any exercise. This prevent you straining and puling muscles.

• Breathe evenly while you are exercising, especially when you are doing muscle toning exercises. Hold your breath can cause negative changes in your blood pressure.

• If you are taking medication which changes the normal rhythm of your heart, such as beta blockers, don’t just your exercise level by your pulse rate.

• Exercise safely; wear the correct shoe for running or sports, wear a helmet if you are cycling.

• Drink plenty of water while you are exercising, so that you don’t become dehydrated.

You should talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise regime if you suffer from any of the following conditions:

• heart disease
• blood clots
• chest pain
• irregular heart beat
• joint swelling
• detached retina
• a hernia

There is no better time then the present to start becoming a healthier happier person!

Here's to your wellness,

Got Gas? NIH Suggests Digestive Enzymes

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Suppressing something as natural as gas won’t lead to a life-threatening condition. However, this needless practice can cause stomach cramps, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, belching, and even more gas. In some cases, the cramps, bloating, and pain can become so uncomfortable that it can interfere with normal daily activities. Letting it fly when it’s supposed to is the best way to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering, but you can also do a number of other things to minimize the frequency of farts—starting with finding the right combination of foods.

The foods we eat and how we eat them (eating rapidly results in too much swallowed air) contribute greatly to gas buildup in the digestive tract. Common culprits include fiber, starches, and sugars (fructose, lactose, raffinose, and sorbitol).

Fiber                  Starches            Sugars

Beans                  Corn                Apples, Peaches, Pears
Most Fruits         Pasta               Asparagus, Onions
Oat Bran             Potatoes          Milk Products
Peas                    Wheat             Soda, Sugar-Free Candy

Fatty foods—the stuff you pick up at the drive-thru, cause gas as well. Fast-food burgers and fries, deep-fried mushrooms, fish, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks are just a few examples. Because high-fat foods are unhealthy and because they cause the stomach to empty slower (which leads to a build-up of gas in the large intestine) they should be avoided at all costs. Avoiding many of the other foods that cause gas, however, may be challenging and even unhealthy simply because most of them (vegetables, fruit, and many starches) are good for you.

What you can do is limit the number of and/or portion sizes of gas-producing foods at each meal. You can also choose gas-producing foods that cause less intestinal aggravation than others. Instead of beans (produces the most gas), try cabbage. Instead of pasta choose rice. Surprisingly, rice is the only starch that does not cause the body to produce gas.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has another suggestion if food restrictions might make you a little batty. Many people lack certain enzymes needed to digest certain foods such as lactose—the natural sugar found in milk. Asians, African-Americans, and Native Americans lack lactase, which is the enzyme needed to properly digest lactose. Older individuals may also experience a decrease in lactase or other enzymes that are necessary to digest certain foods. In these cases, and many others, the NIH recommends digestive enzymes.

Digestive enzymes, particularly one that aids it the digestion of carbohydrates, fats, protein, and sugars, may be the best option for folks that feel just about anything makes them gassy. However, digestive enzymes are safe for use by most individuals, but consult with your doctor first to make sure an underlying (serious) condition is not the cause. If you notice that you only have gas after eating beans or vegetables, the NIH suggest trying Beano. According to the NIH, Beano contains the sugar-digesting enzyme that the body lacks to digest the sugar in beans and many vegetables.

If lactose is the problem, the NIH suggests taking Lactaid or Lactrase. The NIH states that enzymes such as these aid with lactose digestion and is effective in caplet or chewable form. All you have to do is take the supplement just before eating foods that contain lactose. This should minimize or possibly eliminate the gas lactose may cause.

For milk lovers, lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk is also an option. Two common brands are Lactaid and Dairy Ease. Both products are readily available at grocery stores across the U.S. Digestive enzymes (Beano, multi, and more) are available without a prescription and can be found at your local vitamin store, drugstore, or supermarket.

Here's to your wellness,

Do Resveratrol Supplements Provide Benefits?

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This is an interesting topic, because my question would also be, does any supplementation provide benefits? I know that I get a reinforce feeling of healthy assurance when I take my multi-vitamin-mineral tablet, or a capsule of the many herbs that claim greater wellness. At the end of the day, most supplements are like insurance, we don’t necessarily want to have to use it, but in the case that we do, it’s there. The needs of individuals vary greatly, and experts don't agree about the benefits of supplements. Thus, people are making their own choices about what supplements to take -- both botanical and nutritional -- for purposes ranging from sports nutrition and longevity to dieting aids. Many people are taking several different supplements at the same time. For all these reasons, there is a clear need for more and better information for consumers to act both safely and wisely.

Over half of all adult Americans view dietary supplements as a necessary and effective regimen, according to a recent survey -- and would continue to take them even if their doctor advised them to stop. Articles describing new and exciting research results appear regularly in the media.

When it comes to maintaining optimal health, resveratrol may offer even better protection than taking aspirin. It is generally believed that high cholesterol is the main cause of heart disease. However, based on thousands of heart surgeries, many cardiologists believe that a large number of heart attacks are not caused by high cholesterol, but rather, they are the result of inflammation. Different foods may cause different levels of inflammation in our body, and even one meal can cause an instant heart attack. Resveratrol's anti-inflammatory and blood thinning properties may prevent blood clotting and increase blood flow, both of which may decrease or even prevent heart attacks.

Selecting a Resveratrol Supplement

Buying resveratrol may be a confusing task. Resveratrol is a general name for a product that is available in various purities, for example 5%, 10%, 20%, 50%, or 99%. Resveratrol provides no health benefits unless it contains trans-resveratrol. Prior to purchasing any resveratrol product, it is important to find out the purity content. If the manufacturer does not list this on the "Supplement Fact" label, or the label does not include purity specification, then there is no way of knowing the amount of trans-resveratrol in the product, and if, in fact, what you buy has any health benefits at all.

Low purity resveratrol products contain low amount of trans-resveratrol and high amount of cis-resveratrol, emodin and other parts of the plant which provide no health benefits. .

Price comparisons can only be done if companies clearly list all of the ingredients on the "Supplement Facts" label, including the percentage of trans-resveratrol. Consumers can then assess the "price-per-gram"of beneficial resveratrol by comparing the amount of trans-resveratrol per capsule, (not per serving size). 

As an example, two different resveratrol products claim to contain 100 mg of trans-resveratrol each, and are offered at a slight price different. Without a clear "Supplement Facts" label, it would be impossible to figure out the purity of the product. In this example one product contains 100 mg of resveratrol (per capsule) providing 99 mg of trans-resveratrol (99% pure), while the other product contains 400 mg resveratrol (per capsule) providing 100 mg of trams-resveratrol (25% pure). Other than possible side effects, the low purity products should be sold a price of about 1/4 of the pure product price.

Last but not least, most dietary supplements are made with the so called "Excipients" or better known as "Inactive Ingredients".  These ingredients include fillers and binders which benefit the manufacturer but not necessarily the consumer. In most cases these ingredients are added for the purpose of lubricating machinery to aid with the flow of the product during the encapsulation process, which makes it faster and thus increasing manufacturer profit.

Here's to your wellness,

Eat To Protect Your Heart

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Nutrition is a difficult subject to reason with once a person has become addicted to his or her unhealthy eating habits. However, for over the last one-hundred years more Americans have died from heart disease than any other disease. So, is not that a good enough reason for nutrition to be an easy subject to listen to? According to the latest reports on the largest fast food companies in the world, there has been more fast food joints added to more countries, more countries that eat like Americans. As a world leader, America definitely has countless benefits of living in such a wonderful country. However, with American lifestyles one may assume the same health risks of a Nation plagued with disease and preventable deaths at epidemic levels. More than 1 million Americans will have a heart attack or stroke, making heart disease the leading cause of death in men and women in this country. Fortunately, taking a preventive approach can help you lower your risk and keep your heart strong and healthy for years to come. Arm yourself with this life-saving information and expert advice on heart health.

What to Eat to protect Your Heart

Making simple, but important, dietary changes that include healthy heart food can benefit you immediately; the following are a few recommendations for a heart healthy diet:
• Increase your high fiber foods such as raw or lightly steamed vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, beans and nuts.
• Keep your fat calories between 25% and 30% of total daily calorie intake.
• Reduce saturated fat to 10% or less of total calories. Saturated fat, found mainly in fatty meats, high-fat dairy, poultry skin, processed foods and some tropical oils raise your LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol level more than anything else. Instead, choose healthy fats, found in whole grains, nuts, fish and olive oil.
• Eliminate trans fatty acids found in processed and deep fried foods.
• Eat good quality protein. Choose lean poultry, low or non-fat dairy, soy products or fish over meat, which is high in saturated fat.
• If you're overweight, lower your daily calorie intake. The overweight and obese are far more likely to have heart disease than slender people. Eat just enough calories to achieve and maintain a healthy blood cholesterol level and body weight.
• Cut down on sodium to 2,400 milligrams a day or less. Too much sodium can elevate blood pressure. Be spicy instead of salty. Flavor foods with herbs, spices, lemon, lime, vinegar or salt-free seasonings rather than high sodium table salt.
• Take quality nutritional supplements and cold-pressed and extra virgin oils such as grape seed, coconut, and olive oil for heart health.

Be smart, eat to protect your heart.

Here's to your wellness,

Acupuncture Fact vs. Fiction

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Originally developed in China, acupuncture has been providing relief to patients worldwide for over 3,000 years. Today it’s becoming increasingly popular for those seeking an alternative treatment for a range of ailments including migraines, allergies, arthritis, asthma, and stress. Many people have even used it successfully to cure insomnia and help them quit smoking.

This form of alternative therapy is based on the understanding that a vibrant energy, known as Qi, circulates throughout the human body, along specific pathways. The pathways, or meridians, are believed to connect to specific organs or biological systems. When you are in good health qi flows along these pathways unhindered. When you are suffering from an illness or injury, or you are experiencing pain, this indicates that the flow of qi has been disrupted. Acupuncture aims to restore the flow energy using the body’s natural healing ability.

Acupuncture involves the placement of very fine needles of varying lengths into different regions of your skin. As few as three and as many as twenty needles may be used. An acupuncture session usually runs between 45 minutes to an hour and the length the needles remain in place will depend on the condition being treated. During the treatment, the practitioner may twirl, warm or electrically energize the needles to enhance their healing effects.


Acupuncture is an effective treatment – In a 2003 report , The World Health Organization (WHO), acknowledged that acupuncture has been shown to effectively treat a wide range of conditions including:

• back and knee pain
• headache
• sprains
• hypertension
• dental pain
• rheumatoid arthritis
• nausea and vomiting
• postoperative pain
• allergies
• adverse reactions to chemotherapy
• depression

Many insurance plans cover acupuncture – Health insurance coverage for acupuncture is increasing. Surveys show that by 2004, around 50 percent of Americans were covered for acupuncture treatments by their employer health insurance plans.  The number of hospitals and clinics offering acupuncture also continues to rise.

Acupuncture can enhance the effects of some pharmaceutical drugs - According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine , acupuncture may help boost the effects of some prescription medications, such as antidepressants, and assist with the healing process. Reducing the dosage of certain medications and adding acupuncture may also diminish the drug’s side effects.


Acupuncture hurts - Acupuncture needles are hair-thin; much finer than the needle your doctor uses to draw a blood sample. If you feel anything at all it will be a slight pinch. Once the needle is in your skin you will not notice it is there. Many patients fall asleep during an acupuncture session.

Acupuncture is only effective if it is ongoing – Many people believe that acupuncture only works if you have the treatment for the rest of your life. This is not the case. If you are suffering from an acute ailment, such as stress, a sports injury or a sudden digestive upset, these problems are usually resolved quickly. Chronic problems will generally require more treatments. Your practitioner will
assess your condition and advise you on the appropriate length of treatment.

Acupuncturists are not licensed practitioners –Though the exact legal requirements vary from state to state, most states require that anyone practicing acupuncture holds a Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine degree from a college that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).

Here's to your wellness,

The Water Supply

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Water is the vehicle for every nutrient we humans require. It bathes our tissues, suspends our cells and cradles our organs. We are conceived in water, we’re immersed in an ocean of amniotic fluid for the first 38 weeks of our existence, and our bodies are vessels for water throughout our lifetimes. Water heals our physical and psychic wounds, and we turn to this precious substance in our religious ceremonies.

And yet, we treat the water around us like it was a disposable commodity. We use water that has been prepared for drinking to flush our toilets, wash our cars, irrigate our lawns and launder our clothes. Because of such indiscriminate waste, clean water is getting increasingly difficult to find – and it isn’t available at all to some populations. Dwindling supplies of potable water could soon pose a serious dilemma for a species that depends on pristine water for its very survival.

In order to provide water that is safe for us to drink, municipalities process it in ways that alter its natural properties. Unlike the tumbling water in a mountain stream or the extracellular fluid that washes over our cells and circulates through our bodies, our drinking water is largely devoid of minerals that are important to human health. Furthermore, treated water contains compounds – charitably called “disinfection byproducts” – that are potentially toxic. (By the way, if you think you can get around this issue by drinking bottled water, think again: tests conducted by the Environmental Working Group in 2008 revealed that 10 popular brands of bottled water contained a frightening array of carcinogens, disinfection byproducts, pesticides and cast-off medications – all at a price that’s about 2,000 times that of tap water.)

The enzymes that catalyze your cells’ minute-by-minute activities are persnickety. They demand an environment that’s a bit on the alkaline side and laced with nutrients and trace elements, many of whose functions haven’t even been fully characterized. Fresh, mineralized, oxygenated water is the principal ingredient in this recipe, where the slightest variation can make the difference between vitality and collapse. That’s worth pondering the next time you hose down your dirty driveway.

Here's to your wellness,

What’s your Yoga Type?

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Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems (darshans) of Indian Philosophy, which has widespread influence on many schools of Indian thought. Developed in India more than 5,000 years ago, Yoga is better known through its practical aspect than its intellectual content, which is largely based on the philosophy of Sankhya. Holding that the evolution of the world occurred in stages, Yoga attempts to reverse this order so that a person reenters his or her state of purity and consciousness.

Generally, the Yoga process involves eight stages, which may require several lifetimes to pass through. The first two stages are ethical preparations emphasizing morality, cleanliness, and devotion to God. The next two stages are physical preparations that condition the body to make it supple, flexible, and healthy. The fifth stage involves control of the mind and senses to withdraw from outward objects. The remaining three stages entail the cultivation of increasingly concentrated states of awareness, which will ultimately lead to the release from the cycle of rebirth.

Sound serious? It is, which is why the physical aspects of Yoga have been most successfully popularized in the West. In fact, over the past 15 years, Yoga has been vigorously Americanized with more than 16 million people practicing in the U.S. alone—up from 12 million in 1998. This means, traditional Yoga (at least the physical aspects) may be experienced at just about any health club and at Yoga studios across America, and there’s even more variety for non-purists.  A number of hybrid routines have been created to compete with common cardio routines such as spinning, step, and salsa. Depending on your goals, one of the following popular Yoga types might be for you. 

Just a few of the most popular Yoga types include Anusara, Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Iyengar, Power, and Restorative.

Best for beginners because it teaches proper alignment and it’s less intense than Ashtanga and Bikram. Ashtanga is strenuous and it’s excellent for weight-loss and toning. This Yoga type is best for individuals in good to excellent physical condition.

Or “Hot Yoga” takes place in a steamy studio (105 degrees and 40 percent humidity) and it’s excellent for building stamina and weight loss. Total calorie burn = 350-600 per session.

While this is one of the original six branches of Yoga, what you will find at your local Yoga studio or health club will have elements of many different types of modern Yoga. Students engage in basic postures and breathing exercises. Hatha is good for beginners, but all are welcome. 

Props such as straps, blocks, incline boards and harnesses are used to help perfect positions. Best for all ages and levels. Students learn the fundamentals of Yoga while building lean muscle.

Very challenging. Best for conditioned fitness buffs looking to sweat and burn lots of calories.

Appropriate for all ages and levels. Helps relieve stress and healing of injuries. Best for individuals interested in relaxation and limited movement. Each of the four to five poses may be held for up to 20 minutes.

Hope this helps you discover your correct inner yogi!

Here's to your wellness,

Tricks for Eating Less

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If you want to maintain a healthy weight there are ways that you can trick your body into eating less. Here is a rundown on the most effective ways to use your mind to trick your tummy into feeling full.

Portion Control – Believe it or not, using smaller dishes and plates will trick your body into feeling full. A smaller plate means a smaller serving and an empty plate will make you feel full.

Location, Location – Sit at the dining table to eat your meals. When you eat in front of the TV or your computer you are more likely to feel less full than if you eat without any distractions. Take your lunch break away from your desk.

Dishware Contrast – It may sound strange, but studies have shown that people eat less when their dishware is a different color that the food served on it. The greater the contrast between the color of the food and the color of the plate, the less likely you will be to over-serve yourself. So serve your chocolate pudding in a white bowl, not a brown one.

Snack Attack – Everyone snacks from time to time. Spare yourself the extra pounds by sticking to a 100-calorie snack pack. Research shows that these min-packs contain just enough to fill you up and will work better than trying to eat the same amount of calories from a larger pack.

What’s a Forkful?
– Another surprising result of dietary research has shown that people eat less with a large fork than with a smaller one. Maybe it’s time to upgrade your silverware.

Keep at Arm’s Length – Keep snacks life candy and cookies out of reach, and preferably out of sight. If you keep a bowl of candy on your desk, you will eat far more of them than if they are several feet away or in a draw or cupboard.

Try using these helpful tricks and you will be eating less and feeling fuller in no time.

Here's to your wellness,

Secrets for Better Sleep

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According to the National Sleep Foundation, at least 30 percent of American adults have occasional trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting enough sleep. And about 1 in 10 of us has chronic insomnia, meaning our sleep gets disrupted for a month or longer.

If you’re one of those people who rely on medications when you can’t sleep, you could be asking for trouble. Sleeping pills – either prescription or over-the-counter – often cause a daytime hangover that’s almost as bad as not getting enough sleep. And if they’re used for more than a few days these agents can actually aggravate insomnia by altering the architecture of your sleep (the time you spend in the various stages of sleep).

As with most medical issues, insomnia usually responds to lifestyle changes. Adopting a more sleep-friendly routine – what experts call “sleep hygiene” – will be more beneficial in the long run than even the most potent medication. So before you get into the habit of reaching for that little bottle of pills, try a few of these tips:

• Stick to a schedule. Establish regular times for retiring and waking up, even on weekends and holidays. This helps keep your “diurnal clock” set.

• Exercise every day. There aren’t many problems that won’t improve with a bit of physical activity, which does more than just keep you in good shape. Moderately vigorous exercise at least five hours prior to bedtime generates a physiologic pattern that is conducive to good sleep.

• Use the bedroom for sleep and sex only. Watching TV, reading, or working at a computer while in bed is a sure way to disrupt your sleep. Get these things out of the way before you head for the bedroom.

• Create an environment that encourages sleep. The darker your bedroom is, the better you’ll sleep, so cover your windows and eliminate those little “vampire lights” that seem to have invaded every niche of modern life. Try using a white-noise generator or fan to drown out extraneous, unpredictable sounds. And hide your alarm clock, cell phone, and wristwatch. There’s nothing more aggravating than repeatedly looking at a timepiece when you’re already having trouble sleeping.

• Take a warm bath or get a relaxing massage before retiring.

• If you can’t sleep, get out of bed. The harder you try to fall asleep, the less likely you are to do so. If it takes longer than 20 to 30 minutes to fall asleep, go to another room and do something relaxing, like reading. When you start to feel drowsy again, go back to bed.

• Avoid caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol late in the day. Using any of these substances after 2 or 3 in the afternoon can disrupt the magical neurochemistry that allows you to sleep later on. Similarly, taking a nap late in the afternoon will push your sleep time farther into the evening.

• If you feel you really need something to help you sleep, try melatonin. Doses from 2 to 5 mg are generally safe. Take this over-the-counter supplement about 30 minutes before retiring, and try not to use it for longer than a week or two. If you have lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or any other autoimmune condition, don’t take melatonin without talking to your physician first; melatonin can stimulate your immune system and trigger a flare of your disease.

If you have medical conditions that keep you awake at night, such as frequent urination or painful arthritis, see your doctor to get these issues addressed.

Here's to your wellness,

How Animal Companions Can Make Us Healthier

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Every pet owner can tell you that caring for an animal enriches his or her life, whether it is a lizard, a dog, a cat, or even a goldfish. A pet is not just a companion, but a friend, a therapist and for some people, help in living independently with a serious illness or physical disability. Our animal friends give us significant health benefits in three categories: physical, mental and special needs assistance.

Studies show that pets help significantly reduce blood pressure, heart rates and hypertension, leading to improved heart health. The act of simply petting a dog a calming effect that lowers stress and anxiety, both of which, over time, can cause significant wear and tear on the cardiovascular system. Cat owners have been found to have a 40% decreased risk for heart attacks and dog owners have a better survival rate one year after a heart attack than non-dog owners. Overall, pet owners have a decreased risk of dying from all heart diseases, including heart failure.

Dog owners who walk their dog at least 30 minutes a day have lower cholesterol, a higher physical fitness level, less chance of being obese and an easier time maintaining a healthy weight. Some infants who are exposed to pet hair at any early age are less likely to develop allergies, asthma and eczema, a skin allergy. This early exposure combined with contact with dirt carried on pet increases levels of certain immune chemicals, resulting in a strong immune system.

Stroking a pet causes the release of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that cause us to feel as sense of well-being. Animals are natural mood enhancers; spending only a few minutes with your pet decreases your cortisol levels, decreasing stress. Because pets offer unconditional love, caring for them can help fight depression by diverting your attention away from yourself and on to playing, grooming and walking your pet. Pets also help individuals become more social. A photo of your pet on the desk at work is a great icebreaker. Dog parks and beaches or clubs for cat, horse or reptile enthusiasts are ideal places to socialize.

Seeing eye dogs have been used since the mid-16th century. Today’s therapy dogs continue to help people by detecting whether a diabetic’s blood sugar level is too low, sensing the chemical change indicating a seizure is about to occur in an epileptic and assisting individuals who are limited due to disabilities by picking up objects, acting as balance and support for the individual, turning lights on and off, and so on. Therapy cats and dogs are regular visitors to hospitals and nursing homes and provide the gift of cuddling and gentle affection. Horses, dogs and dolphins have provided autistic children a whole world to explore that offers no judgment, only patience. Long ago, our ancestors invited animals to share our fire. In return, we were gifted beyond measure.

Here's to your wellness,

12 Ways to Prevent Diabetes

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If you think you’re destined to become diabetic based on family history, think again. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), diabetes is preventable—regardless of family history. While family history may increase the risk of developing diabetes, being overweight or obese (with no family history of the disease), increases the risk just as much. The good news is, the NDEP says, “you don’t have to knock yourself out to prevent diabetes” and “diabetes prevention is proven, possible, and powerful.” Even for high-risk individuals, prevention may come down to dropping just a few pounds and adding exercise to your daily routine.

If you are overweight, the NDEP recommends losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight to help prevent diabetes. For a 200-pound person, that’s 10 to 14 pounds. Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, eating a variety of low-fat foods, and cutting down on the number of calories you eat each day can help you shed those excess pounds. In addition to losing weight, adding exercise, and adopting a low-fat, low-calorie lifestyle, you can prevent diabetes by:

4. Drinking More Water
Water helps regulate blood sugar, which helps protect against hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

5. Focusing on Fiber
Healthy fiber from fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole-grain foods help control blood glucose. These foods are also low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals.

6. Getting Ample Amounts of Rest
Rest helps reduce stress, which effects blood sugar levels. Rest also regenerates and helps the body fight disease and infection.

7. Limiting Alcohol Consumption
According to Dr. Maria Collazo-Clavell of the Mayo Clinic, too much alcohol can cause chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which can impair its ability to secrete insulin and ultimately lead to diabetes.

8. Decreasing Sugar Intake
Eating excess amounts of sugar can lead to weight gain, and according to research, foods such as sugary drinks are linked to type 2 diabetes.

9. Monitoring Blood Sugar
This may be an extreme measure for low risk individuals, but it might be worth it for high-risk individuals. Your doctor can recommend several alternatives (to needles) for testing your levels. Infrared light monitors and skin testing are just a few painless options.

10. Quitting Smoking
Dr. Collazo-Clavell states that tobacco use can increase blood sugar levels and lead to insulin resistance. The more you smoke, the greater your risk of diabetes. Heavy smokers (those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day) almost double their risk of developing diabetes, when compared with nonsmokers.

11. Reducing Stress
Stress can send blood sugar levels on a roller coaster. When blood sugar levels are out of control, the risk of developing diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease rises.

12. Sticking to a Set Eating Schedule

Eating three evenly spaced meals a day, with healthy snacks in between, prevents dangerous blood sugar spikes. Try to limit your intake of white rice, white bread, sodas and sweet drinks, red meat, pork, cold cuts, fast food, and packaged foods. These foods can cause a dramatic spike in blood sugar.

Try incorporating these easy tips into your daily life to help prevent diabetes.

Here's to your wellness,

Calories: Input vs. Output

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Understanding calories, particularly the importance of input vs. output is key to maintaining a healthy weight. Learning how to measure and regulate your daily calorie intake is essential for any diet plan, no other factor influences your diet more.
Calorie Input

Just about everything you eat and drink contains a certain amount of calories. Water is the only exception. Because these calories are metabolized in your body and used to create energy or store fat, they are called input calories.

Calorie Output

Every action you take, even breathing, burns calories. If you are performing intense exercise, obviously your body will use more calories that if you are sitting at your computer. However, your body uses up a certain number of calories each day just maintaining your normal body functions, such as digestion and blood circulation. Because these calories are being used, they are known as output calories.

Input vs. Output

There are three combinations of Input vs. Output, each of which has a different effect. If your daily calorie input exceeds your daily calorie output, this will cause fat or muscle gain, or both. What will make the difference between fat or muscle storage is how you exercise, so you need to design a workout routine that lets your body know that it needs to use the extra calories to build muscle rather than fat.

If your daily calorie output exceeds your input, you will lose fat or muscle, or both. If you are burning more calories than you consume because you want to lose weight, then this is a good way to get rid of excess fat storage, However, if you begin to lose muscle, then you probably need to increase your calorie intake slightly, or change your exercise regime.

If your input and output are the same, you will see no change. In this case you are maintaining your current weight. This is fine if you have reached a healthy weight and you want to stay there. Otherwise you will need to adjust your calorie input and output.

You daily caloric needs will depend on a number of factors including your age, weight, height, gender, and how active you are. If you want to calculate your own personal need you can use an online calorie calculator.

Here's to your wellness,

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