Visceral Body Fat in the Belly

Written by Tena Moore

Gaining weight around the middle is not a good thing. For starters, it's not the most attractive thing (for those who might say: "Hey, it's a natural part of the aging process", I would respond that so is tooth decay, but that's something you keep a lid on as well). And it makes your pants and jeans fit badly and feel uncomfortable (guys who routinely and simply cinch things up and let the beer belly flop over the tightly belted waistline may disagree).

But, most importantly, if you have a significant amount of fat in your mid section indicating that this is not just beneath-the-skin fat, but, rather, visceral fat, then you are leaving your body open to insulin resistance, which often, or even usually I daresay, leads to type II diabetes.

You don't want type II diabetes. It's hard to get rid of, it can lead to complications such as neuropathy, hardening of the arteries, vision loss, and many of the medications used to treat type II diabetes, such as the sulfolynureas, can even induce additional weight gain.

Now, here's a tip I just read that I might put into practice myself. This one comes from Duke University. Pick the weight you want to be. Multiple that number by eleven and this will represent how many calories you should be maxing out on each day. Also, according to the Duke study, burning 2000 calories each week by exercising has the effect of reducing your stores of visceral fat by seven percent. And that's not insignificant.

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How is Allicin related to Garlic?

Written by Tim Moore

There are over seventy health promoting components to the herb garlic. The one you're more likely to hear about is allicin.

Here's a short excerpt from the vitaminstuff page on allicin: "Allicin is a sulfur compound that destroys many parasites, fungi, and viruses, including Helicobacter pylori (which causes peptic ulcers), herpes, and candida. Because it contains large amounts of allicin, garlic is thought to support the immune system against bacterial, viral, and fungal infection. Some studies have even shown garlic to be particularly effective in preventing recurrent yeast infections and in treating ear infections."

To read the entire page: The potential benefits of Garlic .

Sidenote: I once remember a friend telling me that his vet had recommended giving their family dog garlic supplements to ward off fleas. Has this practice stood the test of time? It might be worthy of a little internet research. However, frankly, my own dog's breath is bad enough on its own.

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Good cholesterol food sources

Written by Tena Moore

Most people don't think too much about their cholesterol levels unless their doctors tell them they should lower their 'bad cholesterol' levels, otherwise known as LDL, or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. To lower bad cholesterol one would cut out saturated fats and trans fats, but what should one eat if they would like to increase their 'good cholesterol', otherwise known as HDL, or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol?

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats reduce inflammation in the body and are great food sources for good cholesterol. These fats can be found in oils such as olive oil, peanut oil and canola oil. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring and other fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids are also good cholesterol sources, as are nuts such as walnuts and almonds. Soluble fiber is known to reduce 'bad cholesterol' and can be found in foods such as prunes, apples, kidney beans, bananas, oat bran, and oatmeal.

The body needs healthy fats and good cholesterol. If your doctor has recommended that you lower your cholesterol levels and raise your good cholesterol, have some oatmeal with bananas or prunes for breakfast and don't be afraid to add a spoonful of flaxseed oil in the oatmeal, or substitute your toast spread with flaxseed oil. Have nuts and fruit for snacks, a large salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for lunch, and enjoy fresh fish with veggies and rice for dinner.

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Can Eating Honey Help Soothe Joints?

Written by Tena Moore

Dried venom and honey from a Manuka tree - doesn't that sound appetizing? The company that sells it says it's not only a sweet and delicious nectar, but that it can also help ease inflammation for those suffering with arthritis. The product is called Nectar Ease, and is created in New Zealand by Nelson Honey & Marketing Ltd. The company sells organic honey, pollen, venom, and oils, and they are hoping to receive approval from the European Commission to market their special honey to those with arthritis.

The company says that their special honey from the New Zealand Manuka tree, infused with dried honeybee venom from the European (or western) honeybee, offers anti-inflammatory properties and can help ease the pain of arthritic joints. Although the European Commission (EU) says it will consider the Nelson Honey & Marketing Ltd's application, it is unknown as of yet whether the EU will find enough evidence to prove that honeybee venom is an effective complementary and alternative healing method for arthritis.

The Manuka tree is a tree that has been touted for its ability to aid in fighting infection due to powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. The venom is harvested through a process of stimulating bees to sting onto a glass plate for collection.

Nectar Ease honey suggests that patients seek medical advice before using, especially if they have any honeybee allergies, and warns that their product is not to be used for children under one year of age. The recommended dosage is varied, but can start at ¼ teaspoon per day, and may be increased to as much as one or two full teaspoons per day.

The special venom honey is not new; it has been available in New Zealand for well over a decade. The idea that honeybee venom can help with arthritis is not new either, some clinics offer bee stings for arthritis, also known as bee-venom therapy, also called apitherapy.

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Lower Cholesterol naturally With Niacin

Written by Tena Moore

There are quite a few cholesterol drugs on the market. Most of them concentrating on lowering low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol, which is your 'bad' cholesterol. While lowering LDL cholesterol is important, it can be just as important to increase your high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol, or good cholesterol. Your 'good' cholesterol is extremely important, as it is responsible for carrying your bad cholesterol out of your blood stream to your liver, where it can be disposed.

One of the less talked about cholesterol regulators in niacin. Niacin is a B vitamin (B3) that increases 'good' cholesterol and can be found as an over-the-counter supplement, in prescription form, or naturally in many different foods. Niacin is readily available in eggs, dairy, fish, poultry and lean meats. Vegetarians and vegans may get their source of niacin in nuts, enriched cereals and breads, avocados, dates, mushrooms, legumes, tomatoes, leafy greens, carrots and sweet potatoes.

While most people tend to get enough niacin naturally through their regular diet, it may be helpful to take supplements or prescription niacin if your have high LDL cholesterol, or low HDL cholesterol. Your HDL cholesterol should be at least 60 mg, for both women and men. If a woman's HDL drops below 50 mg, or a man's drops below 40 mg, they are at a higher risk for heart disease. Niacin both increases HDL and lowers triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. It is one of the most effective cholesterol medications on the market and doesn't necessarily need to be prescribed.

Niacin can usually be taken in combination with other cholesterol medications, but it is best to ask your doctor about possible drug reactions before adding any type of supplements to your health regimen. Also ask your doctor about possible side effects and the correct amount of niacin that might be good for.

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What can you do about skin aging?

Written by Tena Moore

As you age your skin will naturally change. You may notice your skin becoming thinner, developing wrinkles and age spots, and it will probably become dryer, losing its smooth, plump texture. While skin aging is a natural process and there are many products that claim to help reverse or slow down this process, there are lifestyle choices that can either speed up or slow down skin aging naturally.

If you are worried about skin aging, keep these lifestyle choices in mind. First, always make sure to keep your skin hydrated with moisturizer and/or lotion. The neck, face, and hands are the first places that usually show skin aging; keep these areas hydrated. Since sun exposure is known to cause skin aging, using a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher is a great way to reduce premature skin aging. Also, other precautions such as keeping yourself covered away from direct sunlight, and steering clear of tanning beds and sunlamps.

Not smoking (and staying away from second hand smoke), getting enough sleep, engaging in regular exercise, getting enough vitamin C, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, keeping stress low, and keeping your alcohol use to a moderate level can also do wonders to keep skin aging to a minimum.

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