Teflon Cookware Responsible for High Cholesterol Levels?

It is true that chemicals are all around us, and while this can be a good thing, too many of the man-made variety cause more trouble than they’re worth. Most recently, a large, community based study appearing in the September 2010 issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine finds possible health risks, including high cholesterol levels, to children from exposure to the chemical used to make nonstick cookware, or those used on waterproof and stain-resistant products.

The study analyzed blood samples taken from just over 12,000 children and teens who were enrolled in the C8 Health Project – a study of communities in the mid-Ohio River Valley exposed to high levels of PFOA due to contaminated drinking water. The research project was the result of a class action suit settlement against chemical giant DuPont that operated the plant linked to the contamination of the water.

The researchers analyzed blood levels of two chemicals – perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) used mostly in nonstick cookware, and perfluoroctanesulfonate (PFOS) found in clothing, fabrics, food packaging and carpeting and more. PFOA concentrations were on average about 7 times higher than those reported in a nationally representative survey. PFOS levels were similar.

Those children who had the highest levels of these chemicals in their blood were also more likely to have abnormally high total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol according to researcher Stephanie J. Frisbee, MSc of the West Virginia University School of Medicine.

Children and teens with the highest blood levels of PFOA had a 20% increased risk of higher total cholesterol, 40% increased risk of higher LDL cholesterol than those with the lowest levels of the chemical. Those subjects with the highest PFOS levels were 60% more likely than those with the lowest levels to have high total and LDL cholesterol.

How exposure to PFOA and PFOS occurs remains unknown though experts speculate sources of exposure might include drinking water, packaging of food, microwave popcorn and even the air we breathe. Recent research suggests that almost all of us have some level of both PFOA and PFOS in our bloodstream.

Of course the research is not solid proof that being exposed to PFOA and PFOS ups cholesterol, but the findings do warrant additional study. These chemicals are all around us… in the environment and in our own bodies. More than anything we need to understand the substances to which we are exposed and what that exposure is doing to our bodies.

The cookware industry has long claimed that cooking in nonstick pans is not a significant source of exposure to the chemical.

According to the Cookware Manufacturing Association PFOA is used in the manufacture of the coating that makes a pan nonstick but it does not stay in the coating by the time the product reaches the consumer. Science seems to back up this claim, since PFOA is found in people all over the world, including places where there are no Teflon pans.

Continues below…


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Is Your Cookware Raising Your Cholesterol..? Continued…

Since the effects of PFOA are not yet known, the Environmental Protection Agency has asked DuPont and other companies to stop using the chemical by the year 2015. DuPont agreed to the ban and has pledged to phase out the chemical before the deadline.

In the meantime, you can protect yourself from overexposure to chemicals by and reduce the risk of high cholesterol levels by:

- Avoiding greasy fast food wrappers, especially the ones for those tasty egg breakfast sandwiches.

- Don’t overheat teflon cookware.

- Use carbon filters to filter your drinking water.

- Replace nonstick pans with stainless steel, cast iron or glass.

- Choose home made baked fries over the fast food fries.

- Don’t store gasoline for your lawn mower (or other power tools) near your home.

Depression Side Effects Causes of Weight Gain?

These troublesome burdens often come together… some people gain weight when depressed, while others lose it to an unhealthy level. What you weigh and how you feel appear to be linked in ways science is just beginning to understand. Experts do know that common depression side effects include weight troubles and possibly one of the causes of weight gain. On the plus side, treat one and you’ll be better able to treat the other.

A March 2010 review published in the Archives of General Psychiatry of 15 studies linked obesity to a greater risk of depression, and vice versa. Which comes first?

Even the experts can’t say for sure agrees Leslie Heinberg, PhD who is director of the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. What they do know is that depression has lots of symptoms that make obesity worse. Things like appetite disturbances, lack of energy or motivation.

In 2009 University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers found that depressed people gained weight faster than those who were not depressed. The bulk of the added weight was around the waist, which is not good. You’ve heard that fat in the belly has been named a factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. Depression has its own risks including suicide, social isolation, anxiety and addictions to drugs or alcohol.

It’s a vicious cycle according to psychiatrist James Gordon MD, author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey out of Depression. Foods that are high in sugar and fat make you feel better for a while, but the good feelings have you eating more, which ends up making you feel bad about yourself and your efforts. This brings a deepening of depression, more eating and more weight gain. Breaking the cycle is a challenge.

After all, if you’re depressed it’s harder to get out of bed… harder to get going or be active. And you’re certainly not interested in making the effort to prepare healthy meals. Treating a patient’s depression is almost always the primary focus of medical treatment, unless the problem is an eating disorder that causes bingeing, and then this condition must be addressed first.

Loss of pleasure is a hallmark of depression, and in severe cases weight loss is the result of supreme disinterest in food according to Gordon. Depression can also come with eating disorders according to Heinberg’s Cleveland Clinic practice where he sees patients with anorexia nervosa who are often depressed. In these cases the brain gets starved and patients develop symptoms that meet the criteria for depression. Once fed and on the road to recovery, the depression lifts.

Continues below…


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And he’s giving his insider report away today – you can get your copy here at Lean Body Fitness Secret
*Disclosure: compensated affiliate*


Is Depression Causing Your Weight Problems..? Continued…

Treatment of depression isn’t focused on a single thing… talk therapy and medications are important, but so is exercise, a healthy diet and making other lifestyle changes. Gaining weight is a common side effect of many antidepressant medications, but exercise can help counter this drug related weight gain, even more so then what you eat. Walking is one of the best ways to get active.

Gordon, founder and director of the Center for Mind Body Medicine in Washington, D.C. also recommends taking a break from the fast food and unhealthy eating and make the time to cook a meal for yourself. This will help you get engaged in your own care… feel good about doing things for yourself. Meditation is also very beneficial to mind and body.

Once depression and depressions side effects are under control, the causes of weight gain can be addressed. Remember that treatment will take time, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. You need a comprehensive program that addresses all aspects of your problem and gets you ready for the road back to health.

Food Borne Illnesses Rife From Home Cooking

Think about this… new research published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report suggests that at least one in seven home kitchens would fail the very same health inspections conducted in restaurants. Food borne illnesses, while for many an uncomfortable 1 to 2 day interlude, are especially dangerous for the very old, the very young, anyone who is already ill or a healthy person who gets a very high dose of an organism. These illnesses are the result of improper food handling, storage or preparation practices in restaurant kitchens as well as the one in your home.

Experts believe the bulk of food poisonings go unreported and come from food prepared in your own kitchen. An estimated 87 million cases of food-borne sickness occur in the U.S. each year, which includes 371,000 hospitalizations and 5,700 deaths according to an Associated Press calculation that uses recent population estimates and a CDC formula. The outbreaks that get publicity are usually associated with a restaurant, catered celebration or large social gathering, but these are not the only cases.

The kitchen in your own home can be just as dangerous according to this small study out of California’s Los Angeles County. This is one of the first bits of research to look at food safety in private homes and is based on online quizzes taken from 2006 through 2008.

Overall, 34% of respondents got an A, meaning they correctly answered at least 90% of the questions; another 27% got a B, 25% got a C, and 14% failed to score at least a 70. In fact, only 61% of respondents had home kitchens that would get an A or B if inspected as restaurants are today. By contrast, 98% of Los Angeles restaurants get an A or B grade.

Some of the food handling no-nos uncovered by the online quiz…

- 27% of respondents didn’t store partially cooked foods that weren’t used immediately in the fridge before final cooking.

- 28% of respondents didn’t remove jewelry and keep fingernails trimmed when handling food and cooking.

- 26% of quiz-takers reported their kitchen cupboards were not clean and dust free.

- 36% didn’t have a properly working thermometer inside the fridge.

- 9% of respondents had flies, 5% reported cockroaches and 5% reported rodents inside the home.

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Can Home Cooking Be Bad For Your Health..? Continued…

Thought the research is far from perfect – after all it’s hard to compare the conditions in restaurants, inspected by trained pros who gave objective assessments of dirt, pests and food storage and handling with what’s going on in some homes. What’s more, the respondents used an internet quiz to report on the conditions of their own kitchens – so the results certainly do not represent all households. Still the researchers believe a more thorough examination would find that an even smaller percentage of our kitchens would do well under a restaurant inspection.

To protect yourself, beware of raw foods of animal origin such as raw meat, poultry, eggs, unpasteurized milk and raw shellfish. Raw fruits and veggies can also be a concern. Undercooked hamburger (still pink in the middle) or dishes with many eggs like scrambled eggs, omelets or French toast can be of special risk, so be sure the eggs are pasteurized.

Being an informed consumer (check restaurant inspection scores) when you eat out, and a careful cook at home are the best ways to protect yourself and your family from nasty food borne illnesses.

Benefits Of Selenium In Preventing Bladder Cancer Symptoms

Experts report in the September 2010 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention that one of the benefits of selenium intake might include a lower bladder cancer risk, most especially for women.

Selenium is a trace mineral that comes from plant foods and meats of animals that grazed on grain or plants in selenium rich soil. It’s also found in abundance in Brazil nuts. Adults with low blood levels of the mineral selenium are more likely to develop bladder cancer – the lower the level the higher your risk.

In the study, the researchers combined information from seven previously published works to do their own meta analysis. They examined selenium levels taken from blood samples and toenail clippings and determined each subject’s risk of developing bladder cancer. Both U.S. and European (Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands) subjects were included in the analysis.

The researchers found a 39% decrease in bladder cancer for those with the highest levels of selenium in the blood. The protective benefit was seen mostly in women, and the team believes this might be due to differences in how men and women’s bodies break down and remove the mineral.

More work is needed before a recommendation of raising selenium intake is made. Researchers will be looking at the dose response relationship so that recommended daily intakes can be set. There also may be subsets of the general population who are more in need of selenium supplementation – this too will be identified in future studies.

Currently the recommended daily allowance for selenium is 55 micrograms, and the National Institutes of Health believes most American diets supply enough of this mineral, and that no one should exceed 400 micrograms of selenium daily.

In the United States, most of us get our selenium from meats and bread sources. Experts maintain that deficiency is rare in the U.S., but is seen in other nations, like China and New Zealand, where the soil naturally has less selenium. If you’re worried about your own levels of this mineral, talk to your doctor before you take any supplement – too much selenium can be bad for you.

Our bodies use selenium to make selenoproteins that work as antioxidants in the body to prevent cellular damage. There are studies that suggest selenium can offer protection against some cancers, but clinical trials on selenium supplements have brought conflicting results.

In nature, the selenium content of the soil determines the selenium content of the plants grown in it or the animals that graze upon it. Experts know that the soil in the high plains of northern Nebraska and the Dakotas have very high levels of selenium. People who live in these areas generally have high levels of selenium in their blood.

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Selenium May Protect Against Bladder Cancer… Continued…

Besides those tasty Brazil nuts, some other all natural sources of selenium include:

- Tuna

- Beef

- Cod

- Turkey, light meat

- Chicken breast, meat only

- Enriched noodles, macaroni

- Eggs

- Cottage cheese

- Oatmeal, instant

- Rice, white, enriched, long grain, brown

- Bread, white or whole wheat

- Cheddar cheese

While you wait for more research on the benefits of selenium on preventing bladder cancer symptoms, consider the growing body of evidence that eating a balanced diet AND making lifestyle choices that reduce your risk for disease are your best bets for protecting your body from some pretty serious health problems… today and in the future.

Drinking Water to Lose Weight

If you’re trying to lose weight, and not having as much success as you’d like, new research has uncovered an all natural method shown to boost your efforts – drinking water to lose weight.

Drinking water before each meal has been shown to help with weight loss according to a recent clinical trial presented at the 2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston. Drinking just 2 eight ounce glasses before a meal will really help you melt off the pounds, and might have you eating between 75 and 90 fewer calories during that meal.

This is the first randomized, controlled trial that shows increasing water consumption is an effective strategy for losing weight.

The study included 48 adult participants between 55 and 75 years old who were broken into two groups. One group drank two cups of water before meals, the other didn’t. All the subjects ate a low calorie diet for the length of the study. After 12 weeks, the water drinkers had lost almost 15.5 pounds, compared to the non water drinkers who lost just 11 pounds.

What’s more, those who drank water before meals were able to keep the weight off, even after a full year. They even lost another 1 to 2 pounds.

We’ve all heard that water is good for us, but how it works in terms of weight loss has not been studied all that much. It does make people feel fuller, so they eat less. What’s more, experts know that if the kidneys are water deprived, the liver has to do their work along with its own, and this lowers total productivity and encourages your body to store fat.

Still… drinking more water isn’t as easy as it sounds. Those first few days will have you making multiple trips to the bathroom. This is actually because your body is flushing out the water it has stored for years when you deprived yourself of enough liquid each day. Your body will get rid of all the water it has been holding onto in your ankles, hips, and thighs… and at the belly area. Eventually the flushing of your system will stop and you’ll reach what’s called the “breakthrough point.”

Though you might have heard recommendations for how much water you should drink, Brenda Davy, PhD an associate professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech and lead author of the study says that no one really knows how much people should drink each day. She suggests women drink about 9 cups of fluids a day, while men consume about 13 cups. The Institute of Medicine recommends that healthy adults use thirst as their guide.

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Secret Weapon In Weight Loss: Water Continued…

You also need to be aware that it is possible to drink too much water, and this can lead to a rare but serious condition known as water intoxication.

Drinking an excessive amount of water causes a low concentration of sodium in the blood, couple this with prolonged and excessive sweating and you’ve increased the risk you’ll alter the delicate balance of blood/sodium concentration.

Athletes who are on the course the longest tend to drink the most water and are most at risk for low sodium blood concentrations. In fact, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in April 2005 found that 13% of the Boston Marathon runners developed water intoxication from drinking too much.

So… if you’re watching your weight, and not making enough progress, drinking water to lose weight very well might do the trick. After all, it’s completely natural, totally affordable, side effect free way to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Coffee Health Benefits Include Lowering High Blood Pressure

Coffee might not just be a warm, wonderful wakeup… coffee health benefits may also include a beneficial effect on high blood pressure. Greek researchers have found that chemicals in coffee appear to help in retaining the elasticity of blood vessels that stiffen naturally as we get older. This stiffening increases the risk of high blood pressure, a condition directly related to life expectancy.

Coffee drinking and its effects on the body have been a hotly debated topic for many years. Earlier work on coffee and hypertension has brought conflicting results, though the Greek findings suggest that moderate coffee drinking may very well counteract the process of aging arteries.

The research involved 485 men and women, aged 65 to 100 years old, who live on Ikaria, an island in the Aegean Sea. This is a part of the world where more than a third of people live to celebrate their 90th birthday. The team, lead by Christina Chrysohoou, BSc of the University of Athens, was trying to uncover the secrets of longevity in this population. She presented her findings at the European Society of Cardiology Congress.

All the study subjects had imaging scans to measure the stiffness of their blood vessels, and all had high blood pressure. Of the total, 33% drank no coffee (or less than one cup of coffee/day), 56% drank one to two cups of coffee a day, and 11% drank three or more cups a day.

Those who drank one to two cups of coffee a day had an almost 25% greater elasticity in their major blood vessels than those who drank less coffee, or none at all. They were also less likely to have diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease or to be overweight.

But more was not any better. Coffee drinkers who consumed one to two cups a day had blood vessel elasticity that was almost five times greater than those subjects who drank three or more cups of coffee a day.

The analysis accounted for things that can affect blood vessel aging – your age, gender, smoking, education, physical activity, body weight, blood pressure, nutritional habits and diabetes.

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Fighting High Blood Pressure With Coffee..? Continued…

Understand that the subjects drank Greek coffee, considerably stronger and more caffeinated than espresso that was served in tiny, espresso sized cups. This type of coffee is loaded with compounds like flavonoids, magnesium, potassium, niacin and vitamin E in larger amounts than what the rest of the world drinks because it is unfiltered and boiled. These substances are credited for fighting blood vessel aging by blocking the damaging oxidation process and cutting harmful inflammation.

It’s also important to realize that the subjects in the study drank their coffee in social settings with friends or family… in a warm, relaxed atmosphere. The psychological benefits of socializing might also explain the coffee health benefits findings. Also, other aspects of the Greek lifestyle, such as the well known heart healthy Mediterranean diet, could also play a role. If you’re worried about your blood pressure, there are healthy heart habits you can take up today that will make a difference. You need to make healthy food choices, and limit how much alcohol you drink. Be sure you’re physically active as a regular part of your routine – a win-win that will help keep your heart strong and your weight under control.

Combat The Effect Of Stress On Health

The effect of stress on health does more to you than make you feel awful, it can also make just about any health condition that much worse according to Jay Winner, MD, author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life and director of the Stress Management Program of a clinic in Santa Barbara.

Stress isn’t just in our heads… it’s a built in physiological response to a threat. When you’re under stress, your body responds, blood vessels constrict, your blood pressure and pulse go up, you breathe faster, your blood is flooded with hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Over time, these lead to health problems.

Stress is known to worsen (or increase the risk of) some pretty serious conditions…

- Heart disease: Experts have long noted that Type A personalities have an increased risk of hypertension and heart problems, though no one knows exactly why this is. Doctors also know that sudden, acute stress can trigger a serious cardiac problem.

- Asthma: Lots of studies show that stress worsens asthma, and there’s even some research that suggests that a parent’s chronic stress might increase the risk of a child having asthma.

- Obesity: Having fat in the belly (instead of hips and thighs) poses greater health risks, and this is just where high stress people tend to store it. Stress brings higher levels of the hormone cortisol, and that increases the amount of fat deposited in the belly area.

- Diabetes: Stress affects this condition in two ways, it increases the chances you’ll engage in bad eating behaviors, and it appears to raise the glucose levels of people with type 2 diabetes.

- Headaches: One of the most common triggers is stress not just for the aptly named tension headache, but for more serious migraines too.

- Depression and anxiety: Chronic stress is related to higher rates of both of these conditions. One survey of recent research found that those who had job related stress had an 80% higher risk of depression than those with low stress work situations.

- Stomach problems: While stress has been cleared of causing ulcers, it can make them worse. It’s also a common factor in many other conditions of the digestive tract, including chronic heartburn, GERD and IBS.

- Alzheimer’s disease: In one animal study researchers found that stress might actually make this condition worse, causing the brain lesions to form more quickly. Perhaps reducing stress might slow the progression of the disease.

- Faster aging: Believe it or not, there’s evidence that stress can affect how you age. One study compared the DNA of mothers under high stress with women not under stress. The team found that a particular region of the chromosomes showed the effects of accelerated aging… about 9 to 17 added years.

- Early death: Research examined the health effects of stress by studying elderly caregivers looking after ill spouses and found that caregivers had a 63% higher rate of death than those who where their age but not under that type of stress.

While all that might have you feeling… well stressed, don’t worry. Research suggests that stress management will not only have you feeling better, but might bring some solid health benefits as well. As an example, heart attack survivors found that taking a stress management class cut their risks of a second cardiac even by 74%. Of course, since it’s impossible to remove all the stressors in your life, you’ll need to change how you handle them.

Here are four things to try next time stress hits.

Continues below…


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Click through now to discover the “hidden” kitchen cupboard cures – proven by clinical trials.
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How To Prevent 10 Stress Induced Health Troubles… Continued…

1) Breathe deeply for just a few minutes to calm the physiological response of your body. You can do this anywhere, any time.

2) Focus on the moment, rather than worrying about the future or obsessing over the past focus on the here and now, what you’re doing right now. Examine details, pay attention to sights, sounds, smells.

3) Reframe the situation, rather than stressing, try to look at the situation in another way… a traffic jam is stressful, but also gives you time to yourself. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at do change.

4) Keep your perspective, and think about the things that you are grateful for the next time you feel stress taking over. Ask yourself if the reason for your stress will be important in a week, a month, a year. Remind yourself about the ways in which you’re lucky.

While these techniques will help in the moment, there are other things you can do to help yourself manage stress in your life. Regular exercise is key, as exercisers have better moods and more energy than those who don’t.

Learning some relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga will also help reduce the effect of stress on health. It might take a bit of time and practice, but the payoff in terms of short-term mood, long term health and overall peace of mind are truly substantial.

How To Fight Belly Fat And Win

Many of us are looking down at a “spare tire” we’d love to be rid of, but it’s hard to know what’s the best way to do it. Can certain foods and exercises really make a difference? Every day it seems someone’s talking about a new way to fight belly fat.

Want the real deal?

Internet medical resource WebMD turned to experts for advice on the best ways to banish your belly fat once and for all.

The thing to understand is that yes… you can lose it, but there is no secret formula… no magic pill or workout that will melt it away. Fat in the belly is generally the first fat you lose when you start dropping weight according to Michael Jensen, MD, a Mayo Clinic endocrinology specialist and researcher on obesity.

In fact, 99% of people who drop a few pounds will lose it in the abdominal region first. The reason? Fat in this area is more metabolically active and easier to lose than so called subcutaneous fat that’s under the skin, especially if you have a lot.

The more weight you have to lose, the more you’ll see the loss in the belly area first.

As to diet, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a calorie controlled diet that has lots of whole grains helped fat fall off the waistline of obese subjects.

Participants in the study who ate all whole grains (plus five servings of fruits and veggies, three servings of low fat dairy and two servings of lean meat, fish or chicken) lost more weight from the belly area than a control group that ate the same exact diet, but with all refined grains.

According to study researcher Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., RD, a professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State University, eating a diet full of whole grains, while reducing refined carbs, changes the glucose and insulin response, and makes it all that much easier for the body to mobilize fat stores.

You see, refined foods trigger a series of events in the body, starting with elevated blood sugar followed by an increased insulin response that causes fat to be deposited more readily. Whole grains, that also tend to be higher in fiber, improve insulin sensitivity and this helps the body use blood sugar more efficiently and reduces fat deposits.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommend that half your grain servings are whole grains. If you can’t do that, work instead toward eating more whole grains than you do now. They are high in fiber and will have you feeling satisfied for longer and still eating less.

A new diet book, The Flat Belly Diet, suggests that you eat a 1,600 calorie diet rich in monounsaturated fats. While most people will lose weight on this low number of calories, choosing good fats gives you proven health benefits, especially when it comes to heart disease. Some of the foods known to be rich in monounsaturated fatty acids include avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, soybeans, chocolate, olive and canola oils.

Remember that these are no “magic” anything. While fats do help with belly fat, they still have 9 calories per gram, more than two times that of carbs and proteins at 4 calories per gram. It’s easy to overdo if you’re not watching your portion sizes.

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Professional Trainer (CPT) Reveals Truth About Quick Fat Loss…

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Mike Geary, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer(CPT), has blown the lid off the ‘Professional’ health industry and released a no-cost “no-gimick”insiders report which reveals the explosive truth about fat loss…

And he’s giving his insider report away today – you can get your copy here at Lean Body Fitness Secret
*Disclosure: compensated affiliate*


Key To Losing Unsightly Belly Fat… Continued…

When it comes to exercise to lose belly fat (and keep it off) it’s not about hundreds of crunches a day, concentrate instead of losing weight and maintaining that loss.

Eating a healthy controlled calorie diet and getting enough regular exercise – about 60 minutes a day of moderate level activity should do the trick. The harder you exercise, the more belly fat you’ll lose according to Jensen.

Besides looking awful, and doing a number on your self esteem, fat around the belly can bring some pretty serious health consequences. Belly fat puts you at greater risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, some types of cancer and even sleep apnea. Experts now know that belly fat doesn’t just sit there complacently, it releases fatty acids, stress hormones and substances that can up your risks for cardiovascular disease.

To see where you stand, use a soft tape measure to get your waist circumference. Wrap it around your natural waistline, above your hip bone and below your belly button. Measure without holding your breath or your stomach in. If the measurement is larger than 40 inches for men, 35 inches for women, you have excess belly fat and need to take steps to be rid of it.

Eating Berries Can Slow Mental Decline

New research that’s just been presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society has found that eating berries, or rather a compound that’s part of various berries, and possibly even walnuts, may slow mental decline that’s part of the natural aging process of the brain.

Blueberries, strawberries and acai berries appear to help the aging brain in a way no one has recognized before. Our brains are one of the largest, and most complex organs in our bodies, and are made up of over 100 billion nerves that communicate in trillions of synapses.

In the latest study involving the brain tissue of mice, the team looked at cells called microglia that collect waste products from the nervous system. As we age, the cells stop working the right way, the biochemical waste builds up, and the normally protective cells become over-activated to the degree that they start hurting healthy cells.

This is the first research to show such effects from berries.

Researchers believe that the compounds in these foods are able to activate the natural “housekeeper” of the brain that cleans up and recycles toxic substances that have been linked to age related mental decline.

According to study presenter Shibu Poulose, Ph.D. a scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the natural compounds known as polyphenols in fruits, veggies and nuts have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect that might just protect against the decline in mental function that comes with age.

Poulose worked on the study with James Joseph, Ph.D., who passed away June 1, 2010. Joseph, who was the head of the lab, pioneered research on the role of antioxidants in fruits and nuts in preventing cognitive decline related to aging. This decline appears over time, with only the slightest drop in reaction times or short-term memory. Those stricken with a more serious form of mental decline, Alzheimer’s for example, experience a far faster and more abrupt loss of function.

Poulose also points out that earlier research has found that one factor involved in aging is the decline of the body’s ability to protect itself against inflammation and oxidative damage. This can leave you vulnerable to degenerative brain disease, heart disease or cancer.

In one of their past studies, older lab rats who spent two months on diets high in strawberry, blueberry or blackberry extract showed a reversal of age related declines in nerve function and behavior involved in learning and memory.

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Proven: Berries Good For Aging Brain… Continued…

This work is even more reason to eat foods full of polyphenols. There are many choices besides berries and walnuts – pomegranates, red grapes, cranberries, red or purple sweet potatoes, black rice, purple barley, black sorghum and purple potatoes are all delicious options you might try.

In fact, any unrefined food (refining removes the polyphenols) with deep red, orange or blue color is a good choice.

The deeper colors of polyphenol rich foods are the result of pigments known as anthocyanins that are good antioxidants, suggesting it’s important to eat the whole fruit to give your body the full range of beneficial chemicals.

When eating berries frozen are just fine when fresh just aren’t available. Excellent drink choices to help slow the mental decline associated with aging are ones loaded with polyphenols and without added sugar – pure pomegranate, blueberry, red grape and unfiltered apple juice or cider to name a few.

Wearing Sunglasses Vital For Sun Safety

Beyond the sunscreen, protective clothing and seeking shade, wearing sunglasses has just joined the list of sun safety essentials you need to protect yourself from damaging ultraviolet, UV, rays.

With so much emphasis on protecting skin from the sun, you probably haven’t heard much about the damage UV rays can do to your eyes if they aren’t protected, damage that’s enough to rob you of your sight if you’re not careful.

Everyone’s heard of skin cancer according to Dr. J. Alberto Martinez, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at Georgetown University Medical School, but few realize how much the eyes can suffer from ultraviolet exposure. Both short and long term exposure to UV rays can bring on vision problems and damage to the eye.

Even after short bits of time in the sun you can develop a sort of sunburn of the eye in the form of either photokeratitis (inflammation of the cornea) or photoconjunctivitis, an inflammation that affects the conjunctiva. Both can be quite painful, but once treated are fully cured.

Bright light from the sidewalk, aluminum, snow and other reflective surfaces can cause just as much trouble to the eye as direct sunlight.

You can protect your eyes with sunglasses rated to absorb 99 to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation. You’ll need to look at labels, and remember that what you pay isn’t a guarantee of protection. UV protection is not price related… very expensive sunglasses can not be good ultraviolet absorbers; cheap ones can be surprisingly impressive in terms of protection. Wrap around styles are ideal, because some of the more fashion forward styles allow a good deal of UV radiation to reach the eye from the side.

There are a variety of conditions that can come from long term UV exposure over not just one summer but a lifetime of sunlight. This is why it’s important to start protecting kids’ eyes as soon as possible, as best as you can.

Experts tell us that the bulk of UV exposure happens in the first 18 years of life, so the more you can do early on, the better. The more damage you get, the more sensitive you are to later exposure.

Long term UV exposure can also bring some more serious eye conditions.

- Pterygium is an abnormal growth of the conjunctiva caused by sun damage that can get so big it can grow over and obstruct the cornea, partially blocking vision. Surgery may be required.

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Revealed: Often Overlooked Vital Element of Sun Safety… Continued…

- Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens. Ultraviolet rays are believed to play a part in this process.

- Macular degeneration is the result of UV rays that penetrate deep into the eyeball and damage the retina, the sheet of nerves along the back wall of the eye that perceive light. At the center of the retina, the macula, are what help us see fine details. The condition causes no pain.

- Cancer according to the World Health Organization skin cancer of the eye can come as a result of UV damage. The eye tends to develop melanoma, while the eyelids are typically inflicted with basal cell carcinomas. In both cases, surgery may be the best option.

Wearing sunglasses is a smart move to protect your eyes, as you do the rest of you, from over exposure to the sun. A wide brimmed hat along with those sunglasses wouldn’t hurt either to round off your sun safety essentials.