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Coconut Oil: World’s Healthiest Oil

Calicut, KeralaImage via Wikipedia

What do you know about Coconut Oil? Many people including doctors have no idea what health benefits it holds for all of us. Here are just a few facts gleaned from the Coconut Research Centre and other research papers:

The many benefits of coconut oil are finally reaching the mainstream.

Benefits like:

* Promoting your heart health
* Promoting weight loss when and if you need it
* Supporting your immune system health
* Supporting a healthy metabolism
* Providing you with an immediate energy source
* Helping to keep your skin healthy and youthful looking
* Supporting the proper functioning of your thyroid gland

Back in the 1940s, farmers found out about this effect by accident when they tried using inexpensive coconut oil to fatten their livestock.

It didn’t work!

Instead, coconut oil made the animals lean, active and hungry.

Now, I know you are not a cow…

However, many animal and human research studies have demonstrated that replacing LCFAs (long chain fatty acids) with MCFAs (medium chain fatty acids) results in both decreased body weight and reduced fat deposition.

If you change to using more coconut oil in your diet, you may find yourself gradually losing those unnecessary pounds.

The reasons are simple:

1. The long-chain fats nearly always go to fat storage, while the MCFAs are burned for energy
2. Since coconut oil helps to stimulate your metabolism, you may burn more calories each day, helping to accelerate weight loss (and probably your activity and energy level, too)

Additionally, research has demonstrated that, due to its metabolic effect, coconut oil increases the activity of the thyroid. And you’ve probably heard that a sluggish thyroid is one reason why some people are unable to lose weight, no matter what they do.

Besides weight loss, there are other advantages to boosting your metabolic rate. Your healing process accelerates. Cell regeneration increases to replace old cells, and your immune system functions better overall.

You’ve probably heard that breast milk is jam-packed with nutrients and disease-fighting ingredients that help keep babies healthy.

Well, incredibly, coconut oil contains one of the same compounds — lauric acid — found in mother’s milk! And lauric acid is the predominant type of MCFA found in coconut oil. It is actually quite difficult to find lauric acid in any appreciable amounts in any other food source.

Fortunately for our health, lauric acid in both breast milk and coconut oil transforms when consumed into a substance called monolaurin, the actual compound responsible for helping to strengthen the immune system.

Skeptical? So were a lot of scientists, who’ve proceeded to test the heck out of this substance.

In fact, a great volume of research has been done establishing the ability of lauric acid to enhance immunity.

What researchers found was that this medium-chain fatty acid derivative actually disrupts the lipid (or fatty) membranes of the offending organisms.

The lauric acid in coconut oil is one effortless way to help strengthen your immune system.

If all this wasn’t enough, coconut oil has even more benefits: See the Coconut Research Centre for more a large list of benefits.

Just to get you started, here are a few things you can do with your coconut oil:

* Whenever you fry, stir-fry or sauté veggies, eggs, poultry, fish or whatever, use coconut oil for a health-conscious light flavor
* Toss some coconut oil into your smoothies or juiced drinks for a burst of lauric acid
* Make your own mayonnaise with coconut oil
* Use it on your salads for a tropical flair
* Try it on popcorn instead of butter

live a balanced life…   

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August 28, 2008 Posted by | 1 | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Carbs Create Hunger

Have you been having trouble with appetite control?

You want to stay on your diet, but you just get so hungry.

We now know that carbohydrates create hunger, and this makes it harder and harder to control your appetite.

A Monash University scientist has discovered key appetite control cells in the human brain degenerate over time, causing increased hunger and potentially weight-gain as we grow older.

The research by Dr Zane Andrews, a neuroendocrinologist with Monash University’s Department of Physiology, has been published in Nature.

Dr Andrews found that appetite-suppressing cells are attacked by free radicals after eating and said the degeneration is more significant following meals rich in carbohydrates and sugars.

“The more carbs and sugars you eat, the more your appetite-control cells are damaged, and potentially you consume more,” Dr Andrews said.

Dr Andrews said the attack on appetite suppressing cells creates a cellular imbalance between our need to eat and the message to the brain to stop eating.

“People in the age group of 25 to 50 are most at risk. The neurons that tell people in the crucial age range not to over-eat are being killed-off.

“When the stomach is empty, it triggers the ghrelin hormone that notifies the brain that we are hungry. When we are full, a set of neurons known as POMC’s kick in.

“However, free radicals created naturally in the body attack the POMC neurons. This process causes the neurons to degenerate overtime, affecting our judgement as to when our hunger is satisfied,” Dr Andrews said.

The free radicals also try to attack the hunger neurons, but these are protected by the uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2).

Dr Andrews said the reduction in the appetite-suppressing cells could be one explanation for the complex condition of adult-onset obesity.

“A diet rich in carbohydrate and sugar that has become more and more prevalent in modern societies over the last 20-30 years has placed so much strain on our bodies that it’s leading to premature cell deterioration,” Dr Andrews said.

Dr Andrews’ next research project will focus on finding if a diet rich in carbohydrates and sugars has other impacts on the brain, such as the increased incidences of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease. (physorg.com)

What can you do?

Reduce your grains and sugar right down, the only carbs you should be eating are vegetables and fruit and wholegrains. Avoid anything white or processed. For the rest of the story please see the book, Sick, Tired and Overweight.

live a balanced life…

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August 25, 2008 Posted by | General, Wellness | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Laugh, Laugh ‘Til The Tears Run Down Your Face

Laughter by David ShankboneImage via Wikipedia

Laugh every day for health and fitness. Yes, you heard right daily laughter helps to create a healthier, fitter you!

Ask yourself this… When was the last time you enjoyed a real belly laugh? Not just a snigger, a giggle or a titter, but a reall deep genuine belly laugh.

Laughter has so many benefits:

  • helps to reduce stress and release ‘happy hormones and chemicals through the brain and nervous system
  • lowers blood pressure
  • elevates the mood (those happy hormones and chemicals)
  • boosts the immune system
  • improves brain function
  • protects the heart
  • helps to connect you to others (connection is a deep survival need)
  • gives instant relaxation
  • is a great core workout as it activates the diaphragm and massages the internal organs

What if you don’t feel like laughing?

I’ll let you into a little secret your mood is what is called a state, and you can change state just by choice. Yes that’s right no-one can actually make you feel anything, you have to choose it (I have brought my kids up with this knowledge and it has created the most well adjusted kids). So the trick is to choose a different mood and happiness accomanied by laughter is very healing as well.

So try watching a comedy or cartoon, tell jokes with your friends (even if there not funny it is laughable), seek out humour in your daily life and respond to it by laughing, and last but by no means least – fake it until you make it, laugh for no reason at all. You will reap the results and it works better than any anti-depressant.

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August 22, 2008 Posted by | Fitness, Health, Wellness | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Best Preventative Medicine is… Happiness! Get Happy

We all know that when we’re happy we seem to stay well, and for years I have believed strongly in the power of being (not just saying positive things) happy. I know for sure due to my own history that consciously and intentionally staying positive, happy can not only prevent illness and chronic disease but can also heal even the most “incurable” (don’t believe in that term at all) health challenge. Now scientists are finding out, I and manyo of my peers have been on the right track all along.

New research shows being happy can add several years to life.

“Happiness does not heal, but happiness protects against falling ill,” says Ruut Veenhoven of Rotterdam’s Erasmus University in a study to be published next month.

After reviewing 30 studies carried out worldwide over periods ranging from one to 60 years, the Dutch professor said the effects of happiness on longevity were “comparable to that of smoking or not”.

That special flair for feeling good, he said, could lengthen life by between 7.5 and 10 years.

The finding brings a vital new piece to a puzzle currently being assembled by researchers worldwide on just what makes us happy — and on the related question of why people blessed with material wealth in developed nations no longer seem satisfied with their lives.

Once the province of poets or philosophers, the notions of happiness and satisfaction have been taken on and dissected, quantified and analysed in the last few years by a growing number of highly serious and respected economists — some of whom dub the new field “hedonics”, or the study of what makes life pleasant, or otherwise.

“The idea that there is a state called happiness, and that we can dependably figure out what it feels like and how to measure it, is extremely subversive,” says Bill McKibben in his 2007 book “Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future”.

“It allows economists to start thinking about life in richer terms, to stop asking ‘What did you buy?’ and to start asking ‘Is your life good?’.”

Growth in material wealth adds little to happiness once buying power hits 10,000 dollars a year per head, according to such research.

But happiness can be bolstered by friendship and human community, as well as larger social factors such as freedom, democracy, effective government institutions and rule of law.

In Veenhoven’s findings, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, a scientific publication founded in 2000, the strongest effect on longevity was found among a group of US nuns followed through their adult life — perhaps reflecting the feel-good factor from belonging to a close-knit stress-free community with a sense of purpose. ” Physorg.com

Come on get happy, you better chase all your blues away,

the sun is shining, Come on get happy…

Live a balanced life… 

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August 19, 2008 Posted by | General, Health, Wellness | , , , , | 1 Comment

Staying In The “Here and Now”

Rendering of human brain.Image via Wikipedia

What does it mean to stay in the here and now?

Being present with whatever you’re doing. It’s as simple as that.

When you are present you are not thinking of anything other than what is going on right now. This is a place most people spend little or no time in at all, we are all either thinking of the past or the future and often we miss the present entirely.

How does it help you with your fitness levels?  By focusing on what you are doing, how your body is going and your technique you create a cycle of awareness that leads to a better workout and therefore more bang for you buck, so to speak.

One of the most important things remaining in the here and now does, is to prevent your mind wandering into old habitual patterns, often negative thought patterns which can also hamper your workout by encouraging defeatist attitudes like tiredness, soreness or those thoughts that form words like: can’t.

So try to remain in the here and now, by focusing on your breath, your timing, your posture and your technique and you will find it much easier to train more efficiently.

Try applying this kind of awareness to your daily life. When you remain in the here and now, you are a better driver, a better person and you are aware of opportunities when they appear. Opportunities to listen, to hear, to help, to be grateful, to show kindness, to open yourself to adventure and to live.

Stay in the here and now, because there is no other time that is truly relevant to who you are and what choices you are being offered. Conscious awareness is key to creating your life, and being fit and healthy here and now in the present.

live a balanced life…

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August 11, 2008 Posted by | Fitness, Wellness | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spice Up Your Life and Live Well!

Cinnamon can be used to regulate blood sugar

Cinnamon can be used to regulate blood sugar

I don’t know about you but i love a few well chosen herbs and spices in my food. Some of my favourites are sweet chilli, nutmeg, black pepper, garlic, tumeric, sea or rock salt and my all time favourite; cinnamon.

A new study has proposed what many of us have known for a while, herbs and spices are good for you and may even protect you against many modern diseases more efficiently than many average foods.

A University of Georgia study has suggested that they are potent inhibitors of inflammation and tissue damage (one of the leading causes of cancer, heart disease and arthritis caused by high blood sugar and let’s face it this is a really common problem in today’s world).

Researchers, whose results appear in the current issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food, tested extracts from 24 common herbs and spices. In addition to finding high levels of antioxidant-rich compounds known as phenols, they revealed a direct correlation between phenol content and the ability of the extracts to block the formation of compounds that contribute to damage caused by diabetes and aging.

“Because herbs and spices have a very low calorie content and are relatively inexpensive, they’re a great way to get a lot of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power into your diet,” said study co-author James Hargrove, associate professor of foods and nutrition in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Hargrove explained that when blood sugar levels are high, a process known as protein glycation occurs in which the sugar bonds with proteins to eventually form what are known as advanced glycation end products, also known as AGE compounds. The acronym is fitting because these compounds activate the immune system, resulting in the inflammation and tissue damage associated with aging and diabetes.

The researchers found a strong and direct correlation between the phenol content of common herbs and spices and their ability to inhibit the formation of AGE compounds. Spices such as cloves and cinnamon had phenol levels that were 30 percent and 18 percent of dry weight, respectively, while herbs such as oregano and sage were eight and six percent phenol by dry weight, respectively. For comparison, blueberries – which are widely touted for their antioxidant capabilities – contain roughly five percent phenol by dry weight.

Study co-author Diane Hartle, associate professor in the UGA College of Pharmacy, said various phenols are absorbed differently by the body and have different mechanisms of action, so it’s likely that a variety of spices will provide maximum benefit.

She added that controlling blood sugar and the formation of AGE compounds can also decrease the risk of cardiovascular damage associated with diabetes and aging. She explained that high blood sugar accelerates heart disease partly because AGE compounds form in the blood and in the walls of blood vessels. The AGE compounds aggravate atherosclerosis, which produces cholesterol plaques.

The UGA researchers tested for the ability to block AGE compounds in a test tube, but animal studies conducted on the health benefits of spices lend support to their argument. Cinnamon and cinnamon extracts, for example, have been shown to lower blood sugar in mice. Interestingly, cinnamon lowers blood sugar by acting on several different levels, Hargrove said. It slows the emptying of the stomach to reduce sharp rises in blood sugar following meals and improves the effectiveness, or sensitivity, of insulin. It also enhances antioxidant defenses.” Physorg

live a balanced life…  

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August 8, 2008 Posted by | Health, Nutrition | , , , , | Leave a comment

Antioxidants: We Know We Need Them; How Do They Work?

{{en}}Green tea leaves steeping in an uncovere...Image via Wikipedia
“Blueberries, pomegranates, green tea and dark chocolate — these are just some of the antioxidant-rich “superfoods” found in almost any supermarket today. As well as improving our general health, there is growing evidence that diets high in antioxidants may confer some protection against a long list of chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and even HIV. Given their increasing popularity, the fundamental question bears asking: What exactly are antioxidants, and how do they work in our bodies?

Antioxidants come in several forms, including the vitamins A, C and E; plant-derived polyphenols, found in colorful fruits and vegetables; and also the element selenium, found in nuts and broccoli. “What these compounds share,” explained K. Sandeep Prabhu, Penn State assistant professor of immunology and molecular toxicology, “is the ability to neutralize harmful molecules in our cells.”

These harmful molecules, known as free radicals, contain unpaired electrons — which is unusual because electrons typically come in pairs. “The unpaired electrons make free radicals highly reactive, and in this state, they can cause damage by attacking the components of our cells, and can even cause cancer,” Prabhu said.

So where do free radicals come from? Some are created as a natural by-product of reactions in our cells, said Prabhu. Other sources of free radicals include cigarette smoke, air pollution and exposure to UV light or radiation. Once free radicals are formed, they can make more free radicals by scavenging electrons from other molecules, “creating a domino effect,” he added.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals either by providing the extra electron needed to make the pair, or by breaking down the free radical molecule to render it harmless. “Antioxidants stop the chain reaction of free radical formation and benefit our health by boosting our immune system,” explained Prabhu. Because antioxidants are used up in the process of free radical neutralization, a diet rich in antioxidants is essential to ensure a constant supply.

Research has shown that antioxidants can have an important impact on serious diseases. In one recent study, the addition of a polyphenol-rich blueberry gel to the diet of oral cancer patients prevented recurrence of the cancer. Another experiment demonstrated that increased levels of selenium in the diets of a group of HIV-positive patients significantly delayed progression of the disease.

A diet containing a balance of the various forms of antioxidants will maintain overall good health, and could even impact serious diseases. For instance, the American Cancer Society encourages people to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and emphasizes the benefits of getting antioxidants through foods rather than supplements. Prabhu himself makes sure he gets the recommended daily allowance of selenium by eating a few brazil nuts everyday. “The key,” said Prabhu, “is to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts to ensure that we are taking advantage of all the health benefits that antioxidants can provide.”

Penn State Uni -Courtesy of PhysOrg

Is your family getting all the antioxidants they need to stay healthy and live long? Fresh food is one of the most important necessities of life, many of us all around the world now rely on fast food, canned food, frozen food etc.. in our busy lives, but you need to ask yourselves:

Is this a fair trade? Time now for time taken from yours and your families life span?

live a balanced life…  

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August 5, 2008 Posted by | Health, Nutrition, Wellness | , , , | Leave a comment

Swing Into Your Yoga Practice

Yoga Swing

Yoga Swing

If you’re not really into exercise, why not take up an exercise that tones your core, strengthens your arms and reeks of glamour. Yoga is fast becoming once again a favourite exercise and the best way to get into yoga is with a yoga swing.

If you are interested in yoga or if you are already involved in yoga, or any other type of exercise for that matter, then you are definitely going to want to at least consider getting one of these swings, because it is going to drastically improve the way that you are able to work out.

You will notice a difference in your exercise routine almost immediately, and so if you have never tried one of these swings before then you should definitely at least give it a chance, and you are sure to love it right from the beginning.

This is the most complete restorative, strength building exercise program to date. By mastering your own specific gravity you are able to build Core Power and perfect balance between each side of the bodies structure.

A Yoga Swing is also great because it provides the option of hanging both forward and backwards during inversion, plus you have the freedom to flex, extend or rotate the trunk while inverted, in order to accomplish stretching, strengthening and joint mobilization of the spine.

Many yogi’s already have their own yoga ropes, however using ropes can result in chaffing and can be uncomfortable, a beautiful yoga swing is the answer, it can double as a hammock, and can be used for inversion therapy which helps to relieve pressure on your spine and internal organs! Regular exercises will also help to eliminate with ease.

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August 1, 2008 Posted by | Fitness, Yoga | , , , | Leave a comment