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Sunday, July 17, 2011

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Friday, July 15, 2011

12 Food Items Nutritional Experts Would Never Buy

These days, it feels like you need a master’s degree in label reading whenever you are shopping at the grocery store. Every product seems to tout that it’s “organic,” “whole grain,” “sustainable,” “trans-fat free” or “all natural.”We interviewed nutritionists, dieticians, and physicians to help cut through the confusion. Here are 12 supermarket items they say they would never buy:

Juice, soda or any sweetened drinks: water is better and cheaper
Times are tight and you’re trying to stretch that dollar. Make “better use of your food budget and save calories by sticking with filtered water from the tap. You are more satiated and get more fiber by eating whole fruits and vegetables versus drinking liquid calories anyway.”
–Katherine Farrell, a registered dietitian and director of integrative nutrition at the Manhattan’s Physician Group 


Protein bars: not all are created equal
When shopping for protein bars, be sure to read and understand the label. “A protein source should always be the first ingredient, but one I am looking at right now lists ‘evaporated cane juice’ as the next, which is sugar. After that comes palm oil, a highly saturated fat. One way some of the manufacturers try to get the carbohydrate load down without giving up the sweetness consumers crave is with sugar alcohols (mannitol, sorbitol), which allow them to be ‘sugar free’ or at least lower the calorie count. These sweeteners do have fewer calories compared to sugar, but can cause bloating and gastrointestinal distress. So watch out for saturated fats and learn the lingo about sweeteners, or your protein bar might just be a candy bar masquerading as health food.”
Dr. Richard Baxter, board certified plastic surgeon and medical director of Healthy Aging Magazine

Fat-free yogurt: a little fat won’t hurt
Don’t be deceived by the fat-free label. They are “loaded with sugar to make up for the zero fat, equivalent to putting seven teaspoons of sugar into your yogurt. A better option: low-fat, plain Greek yogurt. This is lower in sugar and triple the protein!”
–Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Real Nutrition NYC

Bacon: choose wisely
“If it’s ‘regular’ bacon, it is not good for you. Ditto for processed lunch meat and hot dogs. Not only does it contain huge amounts of saturated fat and sodium, processed meat is often preserved with nitrates, which are potentially carcinogenic. A healthier choice would be natural, nitrate-free turkey bacon. Whole Foods has a selection.”
Jackie Keller, wellness coach to the stars
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Sugar substitutes: stick to natural
“Be wary of sugar substitutes that contain ingredients you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce. Touting themselves as lower calorie options, these sweeteners are full of chemicals best left out of your diet. Stick to natural options and limit intake to avoid conditions of insulin resistance and diabetes. Some great low-glycemic sweeteners to consume in moderation include agave nectar, xylitol and stevia.”
–Kathryn Flynn, an Oriens Nutrition consultant
Rotisserie foods: a four-hour limit
Just out of the oven, hot rotisserie food is a great way to feed a family. But when “food is held over four hours, not only does the quality deteriorate, the bacteria level increases, especially when employees do not monitor customer interactions in these self-serve stations or the temperature. The required minimum temperature for ‘holding’ hot food is 135 degrees F., five degrees lower than most states required five years ago. If you are purchasing these foods, buy and eat or immediately take home and chill within the first four hours after it was placed in the rotisserie. Ask questions about the time the food was placed in the holding unit. Ask when someone last checked the temperature with an insertable thermometer instead of a shelf thermometer.”
Charlotte A. Ferrell, a registered dietitian and founder of Simply Fantastic
Canola oil: no miracle oil
“I am not a fan of canola oil. I call it the triumph of marketing over science. In order to make it palatable, it has to go through this complex chemical process; hence, the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is not that great. And refined canola oil is no better than the stuff it replaced. The best oils are macadamia nut oil, virgin olive oil and peanut oil for frying. Flax seed oil is great for salad dressing but not great for cooking So it depends on what you are using it for. Coconut oil is another you should be buying. It is great for cooking and for mixing. I use it for everything from cooking up scrambled eggs to salads. It has high contents of fatty acids that are good for your immune system. It’s fat that’s used for energy, not the kind that sits on your hips.”
Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS, board-certified nutritionist and author of 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth
Dietary supplements: get it from your food instead
Registered dietitian Maye Musk can’t understand why grocery stores waste shelf space on dietary supplements. “Why — because of the long shelf-life and huge profit margins? Or to put fear into you that you’re not getting nutrients from your foods? If you are buying fresh fruit and vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, fish, chicken, low fat meats, good oils, nuts, legumes and common sense healthy foods, you don’t need any supplements. Before buying one, ask your naturopathic doctor. The nutrition consult will cost you less than your supplements. You’ll find confidence in eating well and start enjoying food again.”
Maye Musk, a registered dietitian based in Manhattan
Bottled marinades: let go of the bottle
You think you can spice things up, as well as save some time, with pre-made marinades. Well, hold the sauce — “they all have copious amounts of sodium, most have high fructose corn syrup, and many have artificial colors and flavors — all in the name of giving taste and improving texture. What they really contribute is salt, sugar and calories. This takes some label reading, but Newman’s Own has a line of marinades and dressings that are great and all-natural.”
–Jackie Keller
Pre-packed salads: not all that they’re cut up to be
They’re convenient and healthy, right? Not quite. “Light destroys vitamins, especially Vitamin C and riboflavin, a key B vitamin. Most grocery stores have the bags displayed under bright, fluorescent lights, which further zap nutrients. Chopping and shredding also brings salad veggies in contact with metal, which destroys Vitamin A. I have often noticed that even brand name, expensive, pre-packaged salads are flattened due to being tightly boxed for travel, causing the vegetables to bruise and leak juices, which lead to spoilage. Often bags with a recent delivery date, at full price, have a murky or mucous look, indicating bacteria at work. In addition, they sometimes have packages of dressing included. While the 12-16 oz. of salad may only have 200 calories, the dressing may add another 200, or more.
It is better to buy a container of three romaine hearts, which are easy to tear off, wash and break into a bowl just before serving, minimizing loss. Keeping containers of grape or cherry tomatoes and baby carrots on hand give you two other ingredients that can be quickly tossed into the salad with no chopping or long exposure to light. Other ‘toss in’ ingredients that are easy to transport are raisins, dried cranberries, shelled pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds — also great for varying flavor and fiber content.”
–Charlotte Ferrell
Salad dressing: better to make your own
You think you’re being healthy by eating a salad. But pre-made salad dressing can be “high in sodium and contain more saturated fat then mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Instead, make your own salad dressing with fresh herbs, ginger, sesame oil, olive oil or avocado with lemon or lime juice or a variety of vinegars — champagne, rice, red wine, balsamic, apple cider, etc. Each combination can transform flavor of the dressing and keep salads exciting.”
–Katherine Farrell
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Whole grain cereals: read the fine print
Once again, take the time to study labels. “Some of the most popular brands are now sporting taglines that would have consumers believe they are getting a healthy start to the day. Most packaged cereals, including instant oatmeal, are loaded with sugars. Instead, start your day with old-fashioned slow cook oatmeal. Add your own antioxidant rich berries, flaxseed and walnuts, and you will be set for the day.”
–Kathryn Flynn
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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What is the best time to exercise?

The Best Time to ExerciseBy Leanna Skarnulis
Some people swear by a 6 a.m. jog to get their hearts racing and get them psyched up for the day. Others wouldn’t dream of breaking a sweat before noon, preferring a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. But is any one time of day the best time to exercise?
The truth is that there’s no reliable evidence to suggest that calories are burned more efficiently at certain times of day. But the time of day can influence how you feel when exercising.
The most important thing, experts say, is to choose a time of day you can stick with, so that exercise becomes a habit.
Your Body Clock
Your body’s circadian rhythm determines whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, and there’s not much you can do to alter it.
Circadian rhythm is governed by the 24-hour pattern of the earth’s rotation. These rhythms influence body functions such as blood pressure, body temperature, hormone levels, and heart rate, all of which play a role in your body’s readiness for exercise.
Using your body clock as a guide to when to go for a walk or hit the gym might seem like a good idea. But, of course, there are other important considerations, such as family and work schedules, or a friend’s availability to walk with you.
The Perks of Morning Exercise
If you have trouble with consistency, morning may be your best time to exercise, experts say.
“Research suggests in terms of performing a consistent exercise habit, individuals who exercise in the morning tend to do better,” says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer with the American Council on Exercise in San Diego.
The best time to exercise
“The thinking is that they get their exercise in before other time pressures interfere,” Bryant says. “I usually exercise at 6 a.m., because no matter how well-intentioned I am, if I don’t exercise in the morning, other things will squeeze it out.”
He recommends that if you exercise in the morning, when body temperature is lower, you should allow more time to warm up than you would later in the day.
When Insomnia Interferes
Unfortunately, hitting the snooze button repeatedly isn’t exercise. But, if you’ve suffered insomnia the night before, it can seem a lot more appealing than jumping out of bed and hitting the treadmill.
Good, regular bedtime habits can help you beat insomnia. They include winding down before bedtime.
“Your body needs to get ready for sleep,” says Sally A. White, PhD, dean and professor in the College of Education at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.”You want your heart rate and body temperature in a rest zone. It starts the body getting into a habit of sleep.”
Exercising or eating too late sabotages your body’s urge to sleep.
“Both exercise and eating raise your heart rate and temperature,” White tells WebMD. “That’s not conducive to sleeping.”
When Later Is Better
White, who studies achievement motivation in exercise and other areas, says that in spite of good intentions to get up early and get her exercise over with, she is more likely to exercise after work.
“It’s easier to get my body into a rhythm because I’m not fighting my body the way I do in the morning,” she says.
For some people, lunchtime is the best time to exercise, especially if co-workers keep you company. Just be sure to eat after you work out, not before.
“Don’t exercise immediately following a meal,” says Bryant, who lectures internationally on exercise, fitness and nutrition. “The blood that needs to go to your muscles is going to your digestive tract. Give yourself 90 minutes after a heavy meal.”
Finding Your Own Best Time to Exercise
You don’t have to be an expert on circadian rhythms to determine the best time to exercise. Steven Aldana, PhD, advises trying different times of the day.
Work out in the morning for a few weeks, then try noon, then early evening. Which do you enjoy most and which makes you feel best afterward? Also, consider the type of exercise, and other daily commitments.
“Most of all, find a time that helps you make your exercise a regular, consistent part of your life,” says Aldana, a professor of lifestyle medicine in the department of exercise sciences at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. “This is more important than the time of day.”
Establishing the Exercise Habit
One day, you’ll reach a point where daily exercise comes as naturally as breathing. At that point, you may want variety.
“In an effort to stay regularly active, some people change the type of exercise they do and the time of day they do it,” says Aldana, author of The Stop & Go Fast Food Nutrition Guide.  “Keeping it fresh makes it more enjoyable and more likely to be continued.”
But if you’re still at the point where exercise is hit or miss, scheduling it for the same time each day will help you make it a habit. Whether you choose morning, lunchtime, or after work to exercise, make it part of your routine.
“People who are just starting out and who exercise randomly are more likely to drop out,” White says.
She adds that starting out can be as simple as changing the route you come home from work so that you drive by a gym.  ”Get into the habit of going that way, and keep a bag of exercise gear in your car or at work,” she says.
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Dr Akilah El  is a certified personal fitness trainer, nutritionist  and also holds a PhD degree in Naturopathic Medicine. She has been helping people all lover the world successfully achieve their weight loss and fitness goals for over 10 years. To learn more about how you can benefit from her easy to use weight loss and fitness programs go to:http://www.celestialhealing.net/weightlossintro.htm

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

food that fight wriklesIf you love the white stuff — we’re talking sugar, folks — your sweet tooth could be making your skin sag, crinkle, and wrinkle before its time. Blame glycation. That’s what happens when sugar hits your bloodstream, gloms on to proteins, and forms the aptly named AGEs, oradvanced glycation end products. AGEs are bad news for your skin. They damage the collagen and elastin fibers that keep it strong and supple.
While scientists aren’t ready to say “sugar causes wrinkles,” docs know from observing people with poorly managed diabetes what out-of-control blood sugar does to skin — and it isn’t pretty. Bluntly put, it causes “premature” aging.
That should be extra inspiration to skip the cakes, cookies, and sugary drinks and fill your plate with wrinkle fighters. Here’s even more: There is plenty of scientific proof that certain nutrients help nourish the fibers that keep skin stretchy and healthy, says Manhattan dermatologist Amy Wechsler, MD, RealAge expert and author of The Mind-Beauty Connection. Step right up to the beauty buffet and serve yourself this way:

Lists of such foods are given below

1. Blueberries: These fruits are considered to be one of the good anti-wrinkling foods. They have natural fructose sugar and enough fiber which absorb the extra calories from foods. They contain phytochemicals known as flavonoids. It is powerful antioxidants which help in reducing the damage of cells.
2. Beans: Legumes like peas, beans are the best source of plant protein. They are high in potassium but low in sodium. Eating other whole grain foods like rice, wheat and corn provide the amino acids which complete the full protein cycle. It also helps in reducing the cholesterol levels.
3. Avocado: Avocado is a good source of Vitamin E and contain good amount of potassium in it which prevents aging. It also contains healthy monounsaturated fat which reduces the cholesterol in body.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables: Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radish, turnip helps to fight against toxins and cancer and also keeps your skin away from aging.
5. Omega-3 eggs: These eggs are produced by chickens that have been fed with alfalfa, corn, soy beans and flaxseeds. The presence of Omega-3 in eggs helps to keep the skin nourishes and also prevents heart diseases.
6. Tomatoes: This item contains a chemical known as lycopene. It reduces the skin cell damage and redness. A mix of some extra-virgin oil with tomato will help to absorb the lycopene further.
7. Sunflower seeds: These contains a lot of fat-soluble vitamin, Vitamin E. It prevents cell damage from free radicals. Application of Vitamin E oil also helps to prevent skin from damage of the sun rays.
8. Fish oils: Fishes like salmon and tuna are full of omega-3 oils which are necessary to maintain beautiful skin. Buying of distilled fish oil which is made of smaller fish such as anchovies and sardines are highly suggested since they contain low amount of toxic wastes.
Some other prevention can be taken like:
• Hydrating your body by taking a good amount of water or herbal tea during the day. Drinking water or watery fruits will also do.
• Avoid taking alcohol and coffee, since it makes the body dehydrated which is bad for anti-wrinkling issue.

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ten Health Benefits of Watermelon

The Health Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelon is a natural source of most powerful antioxidants provided by nature. It is a good source of the antioxidant vitamins C and A to protect us from diseases. It reduces the risk of dehydration.
Summer and watermelon are inseparable. Watermelons are found almost everywhere in the world. Although we can find watermelons in our markets throughout the year, the season for watermelon is the summer when they are sweet and of the best quality. No other fruit can we find so crunchy and thirst quenching like watermelon.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF WATERMELON

  1. The health benefits of watermelon are really great. No matter how it is sliced, it is packed with some of the most important antioxidants found in nature.
  2. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A, particularly through its concentration of beta-carotene.
  3. The beautiful red watermelon is also a source of the potent carotene antioxidant which is called lycopene. These antioxidants travel throughout the body neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are substances in the body that can cause much damage to us. They are able to oxidize cholesterol, making it stick to blood vessel walls and thicken them which can lead to hearty attack or stroke. The lycopene which gives fruits the attractive red color that we find in watermelon can help reduce the risks of prostate cancer.
  4. It is a surprising fact that watermelon is the only fruit that contains higher concentrations of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable.
  5. Watermelon is a fruit that is rich in electrolytes sodium and potassium that we lose through our perspiration.
  6. Watermelon is rich in the B vitamins necessary for energy production. Food experts recommend watermelon as a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin B1 and magnesium. Because of its higher water content approximately ninety percent and calorie value it is ranked more valuable than other fruits.
  7. Watermelon has a special cooling effect and is exceptionally high in citrulline, an amino acid that our bodies use to make another amino acid, arginine, which is used in the urea cycle to remove ammonia from the body.
  8. The antioxidants help reducing the severity of asthma. It also reduces the risk of colon cancer, asthma, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostate cancer.
  9. Watermelon is a good source of thiamin, potassium and magnesium which protect our body from so many diseases.
  10. Watermelon is fat free but helps energy production. It protects against macular degeneration.
  11. Watermelon is also considered a natural viagra. Check our recent entry about this subject by clicking here on this link. http://docakilah.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/watermelon-a-natural-viagra/
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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page