4 Surprising Reasons For Not Losing Weight

You can be doing all the right things and still have unexplained reasons for not losing weight… frustrating to be sure, but all too common for many women. Before you beat yourself up for your lack of success, consider these four hidden health conditions that might be sabotaging your best efforts.

1. Thyroid Problems

The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the way your body uses energy. If this organ is underactive (hypothyroidism) your metabolism is disrupted which has many effects on the body. More common in women, the condition is usually diagnosed in the 40s and 50s. There are estimates that a full 10% of adults have hypothyroidism.

Besides that inability lose weight (or even gaining some) you might notice fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, muscle weakness and joint pain, heavy periods, increased sensitivity to cold, perhaps even depression. You can have a low-grade hypothyroidism and just feel “off” without any obvious sign of illness.

Ask your primary care physician for a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) screening. While traditional levels are between .45 and 4.5, if you’re above 2.0 you probably will struggle to lose weight according to Dr. Jamie Kane, M.D., medical director of Park Avenue Medical Weight and Wellness in New York. Ask your doctor to look at T-3 and T-4 levels too. Some patients do well with a low dose thyroid hormone (Synthroid).

2. Hormone Imbalance

As many as 1 in ten women of childbearing age are believed to have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is known to cause ovulation problems and infertility, while also being linked to insulin resistance.

This is a possible explanation for your lack of weight loss success if you also have irregular periods, extra face and body hair, acne, some male pattern balding as well as the expected trouble getting pregnant. Not everyone with PCOS has weight issues.

Your gynecologist can test your levels of sex hormones, look at your blood sugar and insulin levels or order an ultrasound to look for cysts on your ovaries. Treatment involves lifestyle changes (eating healthy, exercising regularly) and watching your intake of refined carbs and added sugars. Your doctor might prescribe a medication known as Metformin that can treat insulin resistance and help you get pregnant.

3. Food Intolerances

Anyone with a food allergy knows what food they must avoid, but few of us are aware of the food intolerances that affect an estimated one I in ten people. An intolerance can be caused by a lack of a certain digestive enzyme (lactose intolerance, for example) or sensitivity to food additives (sulfites, for example). These intolerances (most commonly dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, corn and nuts) tend to show up over time and can bring on bloating and water weight gain, along with other symptoms.

If you often have bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation as well as symptoms that aren’t related to digestion such as mild asthma, eczema, headaches, muscle and joint pain or fatigue, you need to talk with your doctor, and perhaps get a referral to a gastroenterologist. An elimination diet can start you on your way to figuring out what foods you can eat. Start by removing gluten and dairy and move on to the others. You can then systematically re-introduce foods and watch for your reactions.

You may need to say good-bye to a favorite food you can’t tolerate forever, but in milder cases you can first try using a daily probiotic supplement that brings back the good bacteria (yes there are good bacteria) to your digestive tract. Look for one with at least 10 billion live bacteria per capsule.

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4 Unexpected Reasons Women Can’t Lose Weight… Continued…

4. Medication

While many prescription medications do you a world of good, there are some unwelcome side effects, weight gain often being one of these. Estimates have as many as 50 commonly used drugs that have weight gain as a side effect. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-seizure medications, diabetes drugs, high blood pressure pills, steroids and birth control pills can all be at fault.

If you notice you’ve gained weight within a few weeks of starting a new medication, keep and eye on your progress, stick to your diet and fitness goals and discuss this with your doctor if you aren’t better by the first month. Often there’s an alternative medication that can be prescribed.

Never just stop taking a medication just because it may be one of the reasons for not losing weight. Talk with your doctor first. Treating the condition you’re taking the drug for is your main concern. Side effects, while unpleasant, are still better than the condition the drug is managing for you.

Natural Teeth Whitening Tips For a Healthy Smile

We all know that brushing and flossing are the best way to keep your smile looking its best, but top natural teeth whitening tips include enjoying foods that are “tooth friendly”, and avoiding ones that are trouble go a long way toward keeping your smile sparkling and your gums healthy.

Your teeth are strong and pretty resilient overall, but if you have any with root canals or fillings that tooth is typically weaker. Bite down on something hard (ice, hard candy, olives, fruits that have pits or unpopped popcorn) and you’re more likely to suffer a crack or fracture in such a tooth, and an emergency trip to your dentist to boot.

When it comes to a great looking smile, one of the best (not the easiest mind you) thing you can do is to limit snacking. Beyond adding calories to your diet, snacking interrupts the flow of saliva meant to cleanse the mouth and teeth to remove cavity-producing substances. Constant snacking continually exposes your teeth to substances that erode enamel, which is why experts suggest you limit eating to three meals a day. If you do snack, choose a food that’s healthier, as these are less likely to cause tooth decay.

To ensure your smile always looks its best, here are seven things to add to your diet…

1. Water is the most natural, calorie free thirst quencher around, and helps to wash acid producing foods from the teeth and mouth.

2. Sugar free drinks are ideal if you like something with a bit more taste. These also serve to wash the acid producing food from the mouth.

3. Sugar free gum increases the flow of saliva, this helps to neutralize acids in the mouth and thus protect the enamel of the teeth. This is a great choice when you’re craving something sweet, but are watching your calorie intake.

4. Citrus fruit though acidic also increases the flow of saliva. Oranges, grapefruits and other such fruits offer protection to enamel because they contain a lot of water that washes away food and acids.

5. Cheese and milk not only encourage saliva production, the proteins in these foods also act as a buffer against acids so the enamel of the tooth is protected from erosion. There are studies that suggest these foods might possibly strengthen the protective minerals found in the surface of your teeth.

6. Fish and flax are thought to reduce inflammation and offer protection against gum disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are the most potent anti-inflammatory nutrients, and people who eat a lot of them are more resistant to both inflammation and infection, perhaps gum disease as well.

7. Cocoa has substances that keep inflammation in check and might also help protect teeth against erosion and decay. Dark chocolate is lower in sugar than the milk chocolate variety. And chocolate milk, which does have some sugar, does not appear to up the risk of cavities.

Now that you’ve seen what to add, here are some things to avoid…

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Get A Bright, Healthy Smile With These Foods… Continued…

1. Sugary drinks: When the bacteria in the mouth break down simple sugars they produce acids that can erode enamel and create pits where cavities form. Because we sip them, these drinks raise acid levels over a long period of time. Carbonated drinks are especially bad, as the carbonation ups acidity. Some research has singled out sports drinks as the worst offenders.

2. Candy and sweetened snacks: No surprise here since most of these are loaded with sugar that increases acid levels in the mouth. Sticky and gummy candies are the most destructive choice of all because they adhere to the tooth surface, making it hard for saliva to clean the teeth.

3. Sugary breakfast foods: These have a mix of sugar and starch, more likely to get stuck in the plaque between teeth. Ready to eat breakfast cereal, pastries and many processed (though highly convenient) breakfast foods are best avoided if you want to maintain a healthy smile.

4. Some starches: Breads, pasta, rice and potatoes raise the destructive acid levels in the mouth. The more refined (or cooked) a starch is, the more likely it will raise acid levels. Raw starches don’t endanger tooth enamel.

5. Coffee, tea and red wine: Beyond the fact that these beverage tend to stain the tooth surface, these drinks are typically sipped, allowing the acid levels in the mouth to remain high over a much longer period of time.

So, by following these natural teeth whitening tips you can have a bright and healthy smile with minimum intervention and cost.

Carrying Hip Fat Can Lead to Impaired Memory Skills

When it comes to staying sharp as you age, one body type might just have the edge on the others. A new U.S. study in the July 14, 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society finds that older obese women are more likely to have memory problems if they carry excess hip fat… the so called “pear” shape.

The work involved 8,745 postmenopausal women (age 65 to 79) who had participated in the Women’s Health Initiative hormone trials and had no sign of cognitive problems. The participants received an examination of brain function that was designed to evaluate thinking and memory, answered health and lifestyle questions and were measured for weight, height, body circumference and blood pressure.

What the team found was that for every one-point increase in a woman’s BMI, her memory score dropped by a point on a test known as the Modified Mini-Mental Status Examination.

Obesity does indeed appear to be linked to worse cognitive function, with the effect more pronounced if the woman was pear shaped.

According to Diana R. Kerwin, an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University and lead researcher on the study, the message needs to be delivered to women that a high BMI is not good for your mind and memory. She speculates that pear shaped women experience more loss of memory because of the type of fat that gets deposited about the hips vs. the type found at the waist.

Earlier studies have shown that different types of fat (hips vs. waist) release different cytokines. Cytokines are hormones that can affect insulin resistance, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. They are also known to bring on inflammation and this may be what impacts cognition.

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Memory Loss Linked To Extra Weight At The Hips… Continued…

Carrying weight around the hips might also contribute to the formation of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease, or cause restricted blood flow to the brain. Either way, experts warn that being obese (or overweight) is not good for our bodies, or our brains.

The researchers don’t know if their findings also apply to men, but they note that Alzheimer’s disease is 1.5 times more likely in a woman than a man. The body of research findings available now favors a most simple explanation for this – women live longer than men, and in the case of Alzheimer’s disease, time is important. Women also are more likely to have health conditions that up their risk, being obese, diabetic or having high cholesterol. Experts are also coming to recognize that Alzheimer’s affects men and women differently, with the typical Alzheimer’s caregiver being a 46-year-old woman, married and working outside the home.

Understand that whether you are pear shaped, or apple (larger waist compared to hips), you have this shape for life, even if your weight changes. So while you might not be able to change where your the fact you carry extra hip fat, you can take steps to be carrying less of it. Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is showing itself to be quite important, as is being active physically and socially while enjoying mentally stimulating activities.

Can Fish Oils Help in Preventing Breast Cancer?

Maybe. An observational study of over 35,000 postmenopausal women published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention suggests that those who take fish oil supplements might have a lower risk (1/3) of developing breast cancer than those who don’t. But these findings, though intriguing, still aren’t enough to conclude that supplements are effective in preventing breast cancer.

Instead experts recommend that adults try to eat fish at least two times a week, with fattier fish like salmon, mackerel and trout as top picks.

Of the original 35,016 subjects in the research, 880 women were diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of the six-year study period. Among those who did get breast cancer only 5% reported regularly using fish oil at the start of the study. For those who remained free of cancer, 8% had been using fish oil at the beginning.

Even after considering factors like age, weight, self reported diet and exercise patterns, and family history of the disease; fish oil supplementation appeared to bring lower risk.

Clinical trials, the “gold standard” in terms of research, will tell us more, and senior researcher Dr. Emily White of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle while aware of the limitations of her work, points to the upcoming clinical trial as a way to find out more. Conducted by Harvard University, it will randomly assign participants to take fish oil or vitamin supplements, or a placebo in an effort to understand if either has an impact on the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke in an older population.

White contends it is biologically possible for fish oil to affect breast cancer. Fish oil does have anti-inflammatory effects and chronic inflammation in the body is thought to have a role in cancer growth and spread.

Even so, whether fish or fish oil has an impact on cancer risk remains unclear, the team makes note of two earlier studies that examined a woman’s omega-3 intake from food and risk of breast cancer with neither finding any link.

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Do Fish Oil Supplements Lower Risk Of Breast Cancer..? Continued…

White’s team also noticed that in a subgroup of the subjects with a history of heart disease, using fish oil was tied to an increased breast cancer risk versus non-use. This is surprising, and may be due in part to the small number of subjects… representing a chance finding instead of an effect of fish oil. More work is needed here too.

Fish oil is a natural source of healthy fatty acids (omega-3s for example) and has proven itself in clinical trials to lower triglycerides, high blood pressure and the risk of heart attack in those with heart disease. What we need is more evidence… so far many pieces of the puzzle are uncovered, but have yet to come together to give experts a full picture.

If you’re interested in preventing breast cancer, there are things you can be doing to help yourself. Get screened regularly. Live a healthy lifestyle (or as healthy as is possible for you) by eating well, exercising regularly and getting the rest your body needs. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol to excess, and be aware of the chemicals that might be in your environment. When it comes to breast cancer prevention, the best defense is a smart offense.

How to Get Enough Sleep

It might be time to change the way we think about sleep… and the priority we give it in our lives. To get enough sleep isn’t a luxury for those with time on their hands; the right amount of sleep is now considered a must for anyone, bringing a huge boost to your health, your mood and so much more.

Experts tell us that the gap between getting just enough sleep and sleeping too little is profound, suggesting that all of us pay more attention to the role sleep plays in our lives.

If you’re one of the many busy souls getting less than the recommended and research supported 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, you won’t be able to deprive yourself like this over the long term.

But how much sleep is enough? Experts say there is no “magic number”, different ages need different amounts, and even then the right amount is highly individual. Research has even confirmed that sleep needs change across populations, so what’s right for you may be too much or too little for another.

In the end, you need to make getting enough sleep a priority, just as you do any other healthy lifestyle choice. In return, you’ll reap some pretty impressive benefits.

1. Better overall health: countless studies have found links between insufficient sleep and heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes and obesity. One study found disrupted sleep had an effect after only four days on blood glucose levels in a third of 10 healthy subjects, putting them in the pre-diabetic range.

2. Better sex life: a poll by the National Sleep Foundation has up to 26% of respondents reporting their sex lives suffer because they’re just too tired. For men, impaired sleep can also bring lower testosterone levels.

3. Less pain: any type of pain, chronic or acute, gets better if you get enough sleep; though being in pain makes sleeping a challenge to be sure. There’s a lot of research showing a link between sleep loss and a lower pain threshold; this may be why many doctors now prescribe sleep medication to patients as it can offer better pain management than some painkillers.

4. Less chance of injury: sleep deprivation has been linked with many terrible disasters, not to mention the fact that the Institute of Medicine estimates one of five car accidents in the U.S. are caused by drowsy driving. Being sleep deprived doesn’t just make you a danger behind the wheel, it also makes you more likely to trip, fall off a ladder, cut yourself… be the victim of a nasty household accident that could have been avoided.

5. Better mood: we all know that being tired makes you cranky, but lack of sleep can also effect your ability to regulate your emotions – so you’re more likely to snap, or burst into tears, perhaps start laughing uncontrollably. Over the long term the picture is less clear, but insomnia is linked to depression, anxiety and an increased risk of suicide. No one can say if the lack of sleep is a symptom of depression/anxiety or part of the cause.

6. Better weight control: sleep loss appears to go along with an increased risk of weight gain, partly because if you’re chronically overtired, you won’t have the energy to go for a jog or cook a healthy meal after work. What’s more, the hormone leptin, which plays a part in making you feel full, drops if you don’t get enough sleep, making you just plain hungrier (not to mention craving high fat, high calorie foods) than those who are getting enough sleep.

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9 Great Reasons To Get More Sleep… Continued…

7. Clearer thinking: sleep loss does affect how you think, impairing your cognition, your attention and your decision making abilities. Research has shown that a subject who is sleep deprived is substantially worse at solving logic or math problems than when they’re well rested. Careless mistakes are also far more likely.

8. Better memory: experts know that while we sleep our brain processes and consolidates our memories from the day. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, those memories may not be stored correctly and may well be lost.

9. Stronger immunity: a recent study tracked over 150 subjects, monitoring their sleep habits for two weeks, then exposing them to a cold virus. Those who got 7 hours or less sleep a night were nearly three times more likely to get sick as those who got that magic eight hours sleep a night.

If you or someone you love is having trouble with sleep… being sleepy during the day or when you should be awake and alert, snoring, dealing with leg cramps or tingling, or with gasping or difficulty breathing during sleep, long term insomnia or anything that’s preventing you from getting the rest you need, it’s time to visit your doctor. There are lots of treatments that can help you get enough sleep that’s so important to good health.

Reducing Colon Cancer Risk

Soda drinkers and coffee lovers will be thrilled with this news. A recent review appearing in the May 2010 Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds that taking in high amounts of coffee or sugared soda do not appear to raise colon cancer risk.

Earlier research findings have been murky where coffee and cancer risk are concerned, though sugared sodas have been reliably linked to obesity and other health problems that are thought to increase the risk of colon cancer.

In this review, Dr. Xuehong Zhang and a team out of the Harvard School of Public Health evaluated 13 studies including more than 730,000 subjects from all over the world. The studies lasted from as few as 6 to as long as 20 years. Of the subjects, more than 5,600 were diagnosed with colon cancer.

Colon cancer rates vary widely between countries, and experts suspect that lifestyle factors may well play an important role

The team found that drinking more than 6, eight-ounce cups of coffee a day did not increase the risk of colon cancer. This supports earlier research into coffee drinking and cancer.

Nor did drinking more than 18 ounces a day of sugar filled sodas, though these beverages have been linked to increases in risk factors for colon cancer (such as being obese and having diabetes), but there’s been little direct research on the association.

The researchers note that the number of heavy soda drinkers in their work was small, only 2% of the total, and this may well have impacted the results.

Surprisingly, there was a small but respectable boost (28%) in colon cancer risk for heavy tea drinkers (more than 4, eight-ounce cups of non-herbal tea/day). This too, the researchers caution, requires further study as there were not large numbers of subjects who drank that much tea.

The relationship is unclear at the moment according to Zhang as tea is known to have antioxidants that are thought to help prevent cancer, but also polyamines that have been found to promote cancer.

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WARNING: The truth about Moles, Warts and Skintags…

There are so many “scare” stories that it’s sometimes hard to know what to believe. Which is why this is so timely…

Announcing the breakthrough solution by Chris Gibson, a respected natural health practitioner, that gets rid of moles, warts and skin tags without any expensive medical procedures or over-the-counter products.

Chris has written several books on alternative health and wellness and appeared on various TV channels like Fox 26 News and CBS.

Find out how you, too, can:

- Have freedom from the pain and irritation of your unsightly moles, warts, or skin tags

- Naturally REMOVE moles, warts, or skin tags at the root without any scarring

- Enjoy having clear skin, free from unsightly and painful moles, warts or skin tags

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Certain Drinks Not Linked To Colon Cancer… Continued…

The team also noted that their findings on cancer risk were not affected all that much by other factors such as smoking status, alcohol consumption and gender of the subjects.

In a commentary that appeared with the review, experts from the Arizona Cancer Center point out that sugar sodas are the drinks of choice for children in many countries, unlike either coffee or tea.

Sweetened beverage intake is generally lower among older people. These differences in exposure suggest that the intake of sweetened drinks may call for earlier intervention by health care professionals in order to ward off later disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related death in the U.S., though the rate has been going down (thanks to better screening and treatments) over the last 15 years. This is why, as uncomfortable as they might make you, regular screening tests are one of the best ways to reduce your colon cancer risk. When caught early, patients can expect a complete cure.

Excess Weight Ups Heart Disease Risks

If you’re worried about heart disease risks, a broad term that’s used to describe number of conditions that affect your heart, you’re smart to keep an eye on your cholesterol numbers, as well as your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. However there’s one other risk factor, totally within your control, that is typically overlooked by patients as they fight against heart disease. Weight.

No one wants to admit they’re carrying more pounds than is good for them, yet if the steadily rising obesity rates are any clue, we’re all only getting heavier. And this added weight is upping the risk of not only cardiovascular disease, but many other acquired diseases.

Experts warn that obesity isn’t just a problem on its own, those extra pounds are exacerbating other risks to our hearts as well. Carrying more weight than you should plays a part in almost all the coronary risk factors – boosting levels of bad cholesterol, raising blood pressure and increasing the chances of developing diabetes. All three are considered risk factors for heart disease.

All three respond readily to sustained weight loss.

A study just presented at an annual meeting of American Heart Association found that blood pressure and blood sugar levels keep going up in adults, driven mainly by increases in obesity. This overwhelms improving heart health trends like the drops in bad cholesterol and lower rates of smoking. And while we can replace the machines in our lives with new ones, our body, a truly fantastic machine, can’t be traded for new, its ours for life.

With childhood obesity rates also on the rise, the experts don’t hold out much hope for improvement in the coming years. Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every three kids and teens in the U.S. is obese. These children are far more likely to develop dangerous heart disease as they get older.

The answer isn’t one we want to hear, but if you’re concerned about heart disease, a hard look at your weight (or BMI number) is in order. Once you recover, you’ll want to start making some changes including …

- Eating more fruits and veggies, adding a serving a day and building from there.

- Choosing lean meats, try to eat fish more often.

- Choosing whole grain breads/pastas or brown rice over white.

- Eliminating sugary drinks and fruit juices, go for the diet version or water instead.

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Find out why counting calories is bad for you and can sabotage your dieting efforts.

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This diet is called the “Idiot Proof Diet” because it’s all worked out for you and there’s no need for calorie counting or label reading.

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Experts Warn: More Weight, More Heart Risk Continued…

What you eat is only part of the picture… to lose weight you’ve got to be more active.

When it comes to exercise, start slowly and build over time, especially if you’ve been inactive for a long while. Before you begin, talk with your doctor to be sure being active is safe for you. Once you get the okay, start by walking (or doing another enjoyable activity) three times a week and build from there.

Keep in mind that every pound equals almost 3,500 calories, so to lose a pound each week you’ll need to burn 500 more calories a day than you take in.

Remember successful weight loss takes time… after all, that weight didn’t appear overnight, losing it won’t happen that fast either. Experts recommend you start by setting a weight loss goal of 10 pounds in 6 months, and build from there. Losing just 10% of your body weight can have impressive benefits on your heart disease risks, and get you on the track to losing even more.

Best Vitamins to Reduce Dementia Risk

A pair of new studies help to explain the role that vitamins D and E play in the onset of cognitive decline… even Alzheimer’s disease. And while experts caution that it’s too early to make any recommendations for what to eat or what supplement to take to cut the dementia risk of age related cognitive decline, the research suggests this isn’t far off.

One work, appearing in the July 12, 2010 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that low levels of vitamin D in the blood could increase the risk of cognitive decline.

The work included 858 adults over 65, and those who had the lowest blood levels of the vitamin, under 25 nanomoles per liter, were 60% more likely to have signs of general cognitive decline over the course of the 6 year study. They were also 31% more likely to demonstrate declines in their ability to plan, organize and prioritize than those in the study who had sufficient levels of vitamin D in the blood.

You’ve heard vitamin D called the “sunshine vitamin” because we produce it when we’re out in the sun without sunscreen. It’s naturally a part of very few foods (salmon, tuna, mackerel, fish liver oils, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, mushrooms), and is added to many others like milk, cereals, orange juice, yogurt and margarine.

There’s been plenty of research in recent years to link vitamin D deficiency to problems like heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, schizophrenia, some autoimmune disorders and even certain cancers.

Today from 40-100% of older adults in both the U.S. and Europe could be deficient in vitamin D according to information cited by the researchers. The study has raised the idea that vitamin D supplements might have some potential for the prevention of dementia, though clinical trails are needed to define the optimal intake.

Experts worry about low levels of vitamin D in the frail or elderly, in those with dark skin or anyone who totally avoids the sun. All adults, according to Michael Holick, MD, PhD, a professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and director of the school’s Vitamin D, Skin, and Bone Research Lab, should be taking in 2,000 international units (IUs) of vitamin D a day, significantly higher than the current dietary recommendations. The Institute of Medicine is considering new recommendations for intake as you read this.

Holick suggests that the time to start supplementing is before you see signs of dementia or another condition. Vitamin D is better at preventing that treating disease.

The other work, appearing in the July 12, 2010 issue of the Archives of Neurology, finds that eating foods rich in vitamin E could help bring lower risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This study included 5,395 dementia free subjects over 55, finding that those who got the highest amounts of vitamin E (18.5 milligrams/day) were 25% less likely to develop dementia than those who got the least vitamin E in their diet (about 9 milligrams/day).

Study leader Elizabeth R. Devore ScD of Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands and her colleagues followed the participants for 9.6 years. During that time there were 465 cases of dementia; 365 of those were considered Alzheimer’s disease.

The large, observational study was intended to evaluate more than vitamin E; vitamin C, beta-carotene and flavonoids consumed were also investigated, though only the vitamin E was related to dementia risk. The participants in this study reported that they got their vitamin E from sources like margarine, sunflower oil, butter, cooking fat, soybean oil and mayo.

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Latest Research Links Dementia With Vitamin Deficiency… Continued…

Vitamin E is a natural part of whole grains, wheat germ, leafy green veggies, sardines, egg yolks, nuts and seeds, and a source of antioxidants known to protect the body from the damage caused by free radicals. The brain, being a site of high metabolic activity is especially vulnerable to oxidative damage, and in need of the protection that can come from this nutrient.

As encouraging as these results appear, experts caution that more work is needed before any recommendations can be made in terms of best vitamin intake and dementia risk. If your levels of either nutrient are particularly low, you may need to supplement, but otherwise it’s too early to suggest that this will do you good. Whole foods sources of nutrients are, after all, always preferable to supplements.

10 Best Foods to Eat

Few of us get the recommended number of servings of healthy foods experts suggest, though it’s hard to deny that eating right can do wonders for both body and mind. According to best selling author and board certified nutrition specialist Jonny Bowden, author of The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer, adding these ten best foods to eat to your diet is a simple way to be eating, and living, healthier.

Some of Bowden’s suggestions are familiar, others might surprise you… but all ten foods do stand up as a natural source of some pretty impressive nutrients. The ten are:

1. Cherries: loaded with anti-inflammatory properties as well as having antioxidants thought to protect against the damage of free radicals and fight chronic diseases linked to getting older.

2. Blueberries: also a great source of antioxidants that promote a healthy heart, research in animals has found that blueberries promoted the loss of belly fat, linked to both diabetes and heart disease.

3. Grass fed beef: these cows nibble grass while avoiding hormones, steroids and antibiotics, so they become a healthy source of omega-3 fats that are an essential building block for many key compounds in the body. Beef’s bad rap, according to Bowden, is the result of highly processed varieties like fast food burgers and ballpark franks.

4. Wild salmon: also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked to both heart and brain health as well as reducing blood pressure and triglycerides.

5. Coconuts: a much-misunderstood fruit that’s a natural source of good fat, called MCT, that’s not stored but used for energy, like a carb. This fruit is also high in lauric acid, a fatty acid that is known to kill pathogens. The oil of the coconut has a very high smoke point, so its great for cooking.

6. Kiwi: so loaded with vitamin C it delivers 115% of our daily requirement in a single serving.

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Ten Foods To Add To Your Diet Now… Continued…

7. Whey powder: a run off of cheese making, the powder form is a fabulous source of protein according to Bowden. Whey has also been found to stimulate the immune system.

8. Flax seed: another great source of omega-3 fatty acids, this seed has also been found to have lignans, powerful anti cancer compounds. Flax is a fantastic source of fiber to support healthy digestion.

9. Kale: a veggie dubbed “royalty” by Bowden; Kale has indoles, a compound that’s been found to fight cancer, as well as being rich in antioxidants. Kale brings calcium, iron and vitamins A, C and K. It’s also full of sulforaphane, another cancer preventer. Two cups pack 3 grams of fiber.

10. Dark chocolate: is full of a phytochemical known as flavanol that has been found to improve cardiovascular health. Look for chocolate with at least 60% cocoa content.

Beyond these 10 best foods to eat, Bowden considers the Mediterranean style diet as one of the healthiest around. More of a lifestyle than an “eating plan”, meals include lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, fish and plenty of olive and nut oils, along with a glass of red wine. It’s hard to ignore the fact that in study after study, the Mediterranean diet shows itself to be of real value to both body and mind, and that most (if not all) major scientific bodies encourage healthy people to eat as much like this as possible.

The Best Way to Lose Weight

Mention the word “diet” and just about everyone cringes… the word conjures up all sorts of unpleasant associations – deprivation, endless effort and hard won victories. More than a few of us have been on many diets in our day, so we know, first hand, about the frustration. Yet modern medicine tells us that the best way to lose weight is following a sensible diet.

So rather than putting off to “tomorrow” what you can do now, set a date on the calendar when you will begin your diet and mark it for all to see. By doing this you’ll be making your plans more specific, yourself more accountable so when the date arrives, you’ll be ready, and motivated, to get going.

Another important part of starting any diet plan is to see where you stand now. That’s right, get on the scale and look at the number… hard. Or, you might prefer to use one of the many BMI calculators on the internet to see where you fall. Then define where you want to be, understanding that in the end what you weigh is just a number, and your body can be perfectly healthy a few pounds over this number.

Recognizing the struggle getting underway can be, here are a few other helpful tips from the experts on how to get your diet plan underway.

- Know your goal: just how much do you want to lose? If you’ve got a lot, you’ll benefit best from a structured, supervised program according to Brian C. Jacobson, MD, MPH at Boston University Medical Center. If you’re only slightly or moderately overweight, think about controlling portion size, as this will cut calories. To get the latest on correct portion sizes, meet with a registered dietitian or review the new food pyramid.

- Know your weight loss personality: this has a role in our attitude to food according to Thomas R. Przybeck, PhD at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He advises that you take the time to know your tendencies and create a weight loss plan that fights any unproductive inclinations you might have. Types to choose include Impulsive, Oblivious, Uptight, Tenacious and Sociable.

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4 Simple Steps to Kickstart Your Diet… Continued…

- Do both diet and exercise: a combination of the two is most likely to lead to weight loss according to Lauren Gerson, MD, MSc, director of the Esophageal and Small Bowel Disorders Center at Stanford University School of Medicine.

- Make a commitment: but first, ask yourself some hard questions… Are you ready to do this? Is your motivation coming from inside yourself? Can you deal with occasional setbacks or a lack of progress? Can you fully focus on weight loss? You need to be losing weight for yourself, understand this may be a long term process and have the resources to focus all your efforts on your goal.

With some planning and careful preparation, the best way to lose weight is to make this diet your last diet. Once you get your momentum going, it will get easier to stay on track. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts by looking, and feeling, better. This in turn will have you making healthier decisions going forward.