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Pregnant? New Research Get Physical!

pregnant silhouette

Image by mahalie via Flickr

Are you pregnant? Have you been told to rest?

New research proves that keeping active is healthier for you and your baby.

“There has been quite a dramatic change in regards to pregnancy and exercise,” said Pivarnik, who has studied the topic for more than 20 years. “While it used to be thought that avoiding exercise meant avoiding harm to the fetus, research now shows physical activity can not only improve health of the mother but also provide potential long-term benefits for the child.”

Specifically, the guidelines call for women to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week during pregnancy and the postpartum period, preferably spread throughout the week. In addition to health benefits, moderate physical activity also may reduce the length of labor, evidence suggests. The guidelines call for women to avoid doing activities that involve lying on their back after the first trimester and activities with high risk of falling or abdominal trauma.

During the postpartum period, regular physical activity continues to benefit a woman’s overall health, according to Pivarnik’s research, by increasing her cardiorespiratory fitness and improving her mood. Physical activity after pregnancy also helps women achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and when combined with appropriate caloric restriction, promotes weight loss.

“In the time I have been performing research on exercise during pregnancy, we have shifted from cautious conservatism to the current guidelines, which encourage women to be active throughout gestation,” Pivarnik said.” Science Daily

So go on, get out and do some exercise, if you are a bit worried about how much is good for you, take a walk on a daily basis, it is still one of the best forms of exercise.

Better yet, try a yoga class or some pilates there are some great classes around, be sure your instructor understands your condition and how to tweak the positions to suit you.

live a balanced life…

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October 10, 2008 Posted by | Fitness, Wellness, Yoga | , , , , | Leave a comment

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. (

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

Fountain of Youth Has Been Found!

Well that’s what the researchers have called it. As I have said in my book, “A Rainbow on My Plate” calorie restriction has been found to lengthen our lifespan, or rather the lifespan of all life. Let me explain.

I try to keep fish, I am not very good at it, however I have been told time and time again not to overfeed the fish and that I should give them a day off (no food) at least once a fortnight. I used to breed dogs (I was good at that), and every Sunday they would be fasted, for their health. I had the most healthy dogs around.

So it seems that for all animals except humans, we know that a one day fast creates good health. Yet we humans do not often apply that knowledge to ourselves. We eat and eat without thought for the consequences of our actions. We upsize, in case we don’t have enough food to fill us up. We seem to be trying to avoid ever feeling empty…. (you now what I mean) This is not the answer.. emptiness is not going to be filled with food, and a hamburger with fries and a coke will not love you back…

Ok enough with the psyvchology…

Take a look at this research instead an do yourself a favour, eat less, live longer and healthier:

“Over recent years, there has been a huge amount of debate about whether calorie restriction slows the aging process in humans,” said Edward Weiss, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University’s Doisy College of Health Sciences and lead author of the study.

“Our research provides evidence that calorie restriction does work in humans like it has been shown to work in animals. The next step is to determine if this in fact slows age-related tissue deterioration. The only way to be certain, though, is to do a long-term study…. There is plenty of evidence the calorie restriction can reduce your risks for many common diseases including cancer, diabetes and heart disease,” Weiss said. “And you may live to be substantially older.”

When cutting calories, Weiss warns that it is imperative to maintain a healthy diet by eating nutrient-rich foods. Cutting 300 to 500 calories per day is equivalent to skipping dessert or substituting a turkey sandwich instead of a Big Mac and fries.” Science Daily

live a balanced life…

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July 4, 2008 Posted by | Health, Wellness | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Your Artificial Sweetener Making You Fat?

“In a series of experiments, scientists at Purdue University compared weight gain and eating habits in rats whose diets were supplemented with sweetened food containing either zero-calorie saccharin or sugar. The report, published in Behavioral Neuroscience, presents some counterintuitive findings: Animals fed with artificially sweetened yogurt over a two-week period consumed more calories and gained more weight — mostly in the form of fat — than animals eating yogurt flavored with glucose, a natural, high-calorie sweetener. It’s a continuation of work the Purdue group began in 2004, when they reported that animals consuming saccharin-sweetened liquids and snacks tended to eat more than animals fed high-calorie, sweetened foods. The new study, say the scientists, offers stronger evidence that how we eat may depend on automatic, conditioned responses to food that are beyond our control.” Time Magazine

Well they’re finally proving what I have been telling people for years, artificial sweeteners are bad for your health and make you gain weight and contribute to diabetes, migraines and other nasty side effects. It you really have a problem with weight gain, try changing your dietary lifestyle, “A Rainbow on My Plate“, and using a whole food supplement that helps boost your nutrition without boosting your waistline Acai Blend.

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June 4, 2008 Posted by | General | , , | Leave a comment

Losing Weight is all About Believing in Yourself

The article excerpt below would seem to be a statement of the obvious, however many people are very hard on themselves and may not know that believing in themselves is their best motivation and gives them the highest chance of success at accomplishing any goal. In Australia we tend to be a self-deprecating society this does us no favours when it comes to achieving our goals. So any fitness, weight loss or health program needs to have some defined coaching strategies within it, so that your clients are ultimately successful at achieving their health and fitness goals.

“Queensland University of Technology nursing researcher Rhonda Anderson said self-efficacy had emerged as a strong influence on women’s decision to do more exercise or eat more healthily.

She surveyed more than 560 South-East Queensland women aged between 51 and 66 on their exercise and diet habits and found that although women in their 50s were keen to make healthier diet and exercise changes, they had few effective strategies to draw upon.

“This is an age when women’s weight tends to peak, and almost two-thirds of the survey group were overweight or obese,” Ms Anderson said.

“Self efficacy is our belief that we can produce the result we want to produce, so a person with high dietary self-efficacy believes they can eat healthily no matter what – even when bored, upset, tired, on holiday or at a party.

“A person’s level of self-efficacy determines how hard they try and how long they stick at things in the face of difficulties. People with high self-efficacy are motivated and optimistic – when the going gets tough, they keep going.

“People with low self-efficacy avoid difficult tasks and when things get tough they are more likely to give up. We can improve our self-efficacy by developing skills, having role models and getting encouragement from others.”

Ms Anderson’s study found being overweight or obese was a key influence on self-efficacy. “Women who carried a lot of excess weight were more likely to have low self-efficacy and to not believe they could stick to an effective healthy exercise or diet program,” she said.

“Education is also a factor – women with a tertiary education were more likely to have high self-efficacy for exercise.”

Ms Anderson said her findings were timely given the population was ageing and women lived longer than men.

“We are going to have a lot of older women and if they are obese at age 60 they are not well placed to have a healthy old age. Carrying excess weight has been linked to diseases including diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer,” she said.

Ms Anderson said that most of the women in her study who had made an effort to exercise more took up walking and those who had tried to eat more healthily had mainly cut down on fat.

“But going for a stroll and not having butter on your bread won’t have you lose 30kg. Women need specific education and support to be successful in improving their health and losing weight.

“We need to reach the many women juggling work and motherhood and feel guilty if they take time for themselves.

“A lot of women in their 50s are keen to improve their health, and we need to take advantage of that, but if we can support them in taking care of themselves from an earlier age, so much the better.” Adapted from materials provided by the Queensland University of Technology.            ScienceDaily (May 2, 2008)

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May 10, 2008 Posted by | Fitness, Wellness | , , , | 1 Comment