Improved Heart Health One Of The Benefits of Apples

There’s a new study that supports an age old saying… eating an apple (or better yet two) a day is good for you, helping to reduce heart disease risk factors. The benefits of apples seems to be a lowering of cholesterol levels and a pair of other key markers that are linked with plaques and inflammation of artery walls. The latest work to tout an apple’s benefits was just presented at the Experimental Biology 2011 conference, held in Washington, D.C.

While we’ve all heard that apples are good for us… researchers cannot rest until they know precisely why this is. What particular substances might be locked inside that perfect package? Might we find it in other foods as well?

The latest study on apples recruited 160 female subjects (45-65 years old) and randomly assigned them to eat a serving (75g) of dried apples or dried prunes each day. The participants underwent blood tests to check for indicators of heart health at the 3-month, 6-month and 1 year point in the study.

At the end, the apple eating women saw their total cholesterol drop by 14% on average, with LDL cholesterol going down by an average 23%. What’s more, levels of lipid hydroperoxide, a chemical that’s part of the formation of plaques that clog the heart and C-reactive protein, a well-known marker for inflammation both dropped by almost a third. The subjects eating apples even lost weight, about 3.3 pounds over the study period.

For our prune lovers out there… these women also saw some reduction in the heart health markers, but not nearly as much as the apple eaters did.

The apple’s affect on bad (LDL) cholesterol was a particular surprise according to researcher Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, RD the chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Science at Florida State University. By six months the apple-eating subjects were seeing a benefit. Apples, and apple juice, have both shown us incredible benefits from the active components apples come by naturally.

Another expert, Dianne A. Hyson, PhD. RD, from across the country at the University of California at Davis has just reviewed 80 studies published after 2005 that make some pretty impressive claims on the benefits that apple an day can bring. There’s evidence that the tasty, crunchy fruit helps regulate blood sugar, control your appetite, safeguard the lungs and even protect the body from cancer.

So what’s behind the apple’s amazing benefits?

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Proven: Apples Are Good For Your Heart… Continued…

Apples are full of pectin, a soluble fiber that blocks cholesterol absorption during digestion and pushes the body to use (and not store) the waxy substance. The peels are also full of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that works to prevent damage to cells from free radicals.

The benefits of apples can be achieved by eating any color or variety, so long as you eat the whole fruit, skin and all. Natural sources of nutrients are always better than supplements or components, like diced fruit in prepared packages. The whole has been proven, time and again, to be better than the sum of its parts. So no peeling. Seems like high time more of us recognized the truth behind the apple a day expression and made the healthful crunch part of our next snack.

Discovering Anti Cancer Foods

Doctors tell their patients all that time that if you’re overweight (or obese) losing weight can help cut your risks of cancer, but one expert cautions that not all diet plans are as effective in bringing down that risk. A diet that offers protection against cancer is one that involves long-term changes in how you eat, and includes a variety of anti cancer foods from every food group according to Daxaben Amin, senior clinical dietitian out of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

We all know that diets that support short-term changes (aka, diet trends) don’t work. Not only is it nigh on impossible to stick to the plan over the long haul, but these ways of eating often don’t give you the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, much less free of cancer. So while you might hear about (or even experience) rapid results for a bit, this doesn’t mean that boast worthy weight loss is healthy or lasting. Losing more than two pounds a week is actually considered bad for you, it causes you to drop more muscle than fat, and is damaging to the body.

Topping the list of the best cancer fighting eating plans is one we all have heard so much about – the Mediterranean style diet – a lifelong commitment to eating well that also happens to suppress cancer and fight heart disease. This plan calls for eating plenty of fruits, veggies and other plant based foods, using herbs/spices for flavor (not salt), limiting how much red meat and alcohol you consume on a regular basis, using healthy fats (olive and canola oil) instead of butter and eating fish/poultry at least two times a week.

Another winner on the cancer-fighting diet front is the whole body diet, a plan that calls for eating 6 to 7 small meals per day, rather than the 3 large ones we’re all used to. In terms of cancer prevention, this way of eating calls for fruits, veggies and whole grains in at least half of your meals for the day, limiting foods that are high in fat, eating lean protein and being active every single day.

When it comes to the plans that aren’t so effective… Gluten free diets have grown in popularity, but experts’ caution that you shouldn’t adopt this eating style unless you’ve been diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Those who follow this plan stay away from foods with whole grains that are also high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. It’s the fiber and other essential nutrients that while bad for the celiac patient, help to protect body cells from the type of damage that can precede cancer.

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Best (And Worst) Diets For Fighting Cancer… Continued…

Also on the no-no list are carb free diets. If you totally cut our carbs you deprive your body of its basic source of energy. You’ll also be withholding some important cancer-fighting foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Instead of cutting the carbs altogether, choose them ore carefully. Go for whole grains instead of refined ones… limit the cakes and cookies.

When it comes to keeping yourself at a healthy weight, and thus reducing your risk of many forms of cancer, moderation is the most important thing to keep in mind. You’re making a lifelong commitment according to Amin, and the best chance for long-term success comes from doing things in moderation. Remember too, preventing cancer, including the consumption of anti cancer foods, is the most effective treatment available at the moment for what can be a deadly disease.

The Best Position For Sleeping

Interesting finding… the way you like to sleep at night could be contributing to your back and neck pain, stomach problems and even early wrinkles. As if you don’t already have enough to keep you from falling off to sleep, someone has come up with the worst and the best position for sleeping for your body.

Since we’ve got your attention, here they are…

BEST: Sleeping on your back is great for preventing pain in your neck or back, allowing you to rest in a way where it’s easy for your head, neck and spine to hold a neutral position. It also helps to reduce burning acid reflux, minimizes wrinkles (nothing is pushing against your face) and keeps your breasts perky because their weight is fully supported.

One puffy pillow is all you’ll need – big enough to support your head and neck but not so large it props your head up too high. The only downside to sleeping on your back is that snoring tends to be more frequent and severe.

NEXT BEST: Slide Sleeping also helps prevent pain in both neck and back as well as easing acid reflux, less chance of snoring, and one of the few comfortable sleeping positions during late pregnancy. This position isn’t so good for your skin or breasts. It can bring on wrinkles because of all that smushing on one side of the face. This pose does no favor for your breasts, contributing to sag because they hang down which stretches the ligaments.

Pregnant women will want to sleep on the left side, known to be ideal for blood flow. If you sleep this way go for a thick pillow that fills the space above your shoulder so that your head and neck are supported.

NOT SO GOOD: Fetal position is fine for infants, helps with snoring, and sleeping during your pregnancy, but it’s no good for preventing back and neck pain, minimizing wrinkles or keeping your chest in top form. When you sleep with your knees pulled up high and chin tucked to your chest, you’ll likely feel it when you wake up, especially if you’re already dealing with an achy back or other joints. Premature wrinkles of the face and breast sag are also likely if this is your usual sleeping pose. All you need to do is straighten out a bit, not tuck yourself into such an extreme curl, and you’ll do far better. Fetal position sleepers need a plump pillow; just like the side sleepers do, so that your head and neck are properly supported as you sleep.

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Is Your Sleeping Position Doing Harm..? Continued…

THE WORST: On your stomach is ideal for those who snore, but this pose makes it hard to keep a neutral position for your spin, as well as putting pressure on muscles and joints, and this can irritate nerves, leading to pain, numbness and tingling. Consider this… how sore would your neck would be if you kept it turned to one side for just 15 minutes during your day? Now imagine doing that all night, every night. You might not feel it that next morning, but over time you’ll start to ache.

Facedown is good for anyone who snores, and if you don’t have back or neck problems, it is probably fine for you. Choose a pillow that’s on the thin side, or use none at all.

Experts continue to learn about the value of sleep, not only for helping us feel better, but as a central part of a healthy lifestyle. Experiementing with the best position for sleeping for you enabling you to get the right amount of rest can help your heart, your weight loss efforts, your mind and so much more.

Reduce Triglycerides With Simple Changes

If you take real steps to change your lifestyle and eat a healthier diet, you really can reduce triglycerides according to a new scientific statement out of no less than the American Heart Association. The statement appears in the AHA journal Circulation.

Triglycerides are a type of blood fat that’s associated with blood vessel and heart problems, as well as other diseases. You can lower them by…

1. Substituting healthy, unsaturated dietary fats for the saturated kind.

2. Focus on eating more veggies and fruits that are lower in fructose; like cantaloupe, strawberries, bananas, peaches and grapefruit.

3. Exercising regularly, at least 30 minutes of moderate level activity most days, for a total of 150 minutes a week. This alone can bring down triglycerides by 20-30%.

4. Losing weight, cutting the calories day in, day out and burning more than you take in will help you drop those pounds.

These changes can cut those triglycerides by 20% to as much as 50%. That’s good news, showing us all that making the hard, lifestyle changes can have a real impact. Michael Miller, MD a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine points out that triglycerides are very responsive to what we eat, how much weight we drop and regular exercise.

The experts suggest that for those above the normal (150) triglyceride levels, you should make regular efforts to…

- Limit added sugar to less than 5-10% of your daily calories. This can be tricky, as added sugars aren’t listed in the Nutrition Facts of packaged foods. Watch the sugar sweetened drinks, the AHA recommends drinking no more than 36 ounces a week.

- Limit fructose from processed and natural sources to less than 50-100 grams a day.

- Limit saturated fat to below 7% of total daily calories, trans fats to less than 1% of total daily calories.

- Limit alcohol, especially if your triglyceride number is over 500 milligrams per deciliter.

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Lifestyle Changes Can Lower Triglycerides… Continued…

Triglycerides act as a barometer of overall metabolic health according to Neil j. Stone, MD, professor at the Fienberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. If you have numbers between 100 to 199 you need to think seriously about risk factors and the very real need to eat less, eat more healthy and get active regularly.

Triglycerides are different from other high cholesterol indicators, where lifestyle can help but might not be enough of a solution.

Your doctor can test your triglycerides very easily. You’ll supply a blood sample after a 12 hour fast. This is a good initial screen according to the study authors. A number between 100 to 150 is ideal, anything higher represents the elevated triglyceride levels that are so common in the U.S. – almost 31% of us have levels over 150 milligrams per deciliter. Higher among Mexican Americans at 36%, followed by whites at 33% and African Americans at the lowest, just 16%, levels.

Just as diabetes and obesity are happening earlier, the researchers find it troublesome that triglycerides are also on the rise in young adults between 20 and 49 years old. Something to think about should you be concerned you need to reduce triglycerides.

7 Seasonal Allergy Remedies

Now that spring has finally arrived, those who live with allergies have to cope with the annual onslaught of itchy, watery misery. Whether you deal with reactions to outdoor or indoor allergens, if you’re finding that typical allergy drugs just aren’t working for you… let us tell you about some seasonal allergy remedies that just might.

Science knows that allergies are an exaggerated response from your own immune system to something in your environment. They’re relatively common, with both genetics and environmental factors playing a part. Sources of trouble include pollen, pet dander, mold and dust, foods and drugs. Allergic reactions can come from insect bites, jewelry, spices, cosmetics or other substances.

The good news is that there are some far less marketed but very powerful natural alternative allergy treatments that can prepare your body in advance to fight miserable allergy symptoms. If you’re already suffering, these seven tips can help you too.

1) A non-allergenic diet – sure allergens are external, but our body responds on the inside, and this response is the cause of the allergy symptoms you feel. If your body is already overwhelmed with food allergy triggers, your immune system becomes hyper sensitive, even more likely to react to external allergens. Be aware of what you’re eating… common trouble spots are wheat, dairy and added sugar.

2) A spoonful of honey - choose local honey produced by bees in your area, and try a spoonful. The thinking goes that this is much like immunotherapy, introducing a tiny dose of an allergen to reduce your sensitivity. As bees collect nectar they also pick up pollen grains that get in the honey – providing a source of homeopathic immunotherapy. Start taking a daily dose a few weeks/months before allergy season.

3) Take vitamin C and quercetin – this vitamin is a mast cell (cells that line the mucous membranes) stabilizer. It’s these cells that release histamine when exposed to an allergen, often a trigger for eye irritation, sneezing and runny nose. The vitamin C (1500 mg), supported by quercetin (500 mg), makes mast cells less reactive. Start daily doses at the first sign of allergies and repeat every four to six hours.

4) Drink stinging nettle leaf tea – a perennial that is aptly named, this natural substance is safe and healthy when in liquid form. Steep the tea for 10-15 minutes to get the full benefit.

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7 Natural Fixes For Your Seasonal Allergies… Continued…

5) Soothe your nose with a neti pot – washing the allergens out of the nasal passages with salt water is a simple, natural way to reduce your symptoms and keep pollen from triggering the allergy process in the body. Neti pots have been used since ancient times to clear nasal passages.

6) Inhale steam with essential oils – boil some water in a saucepan and turn off the heat. Add 4 drops of eucalyptus oil, 1-2 drops of tea tree oil and 3 drops of rosemary essential oil. Drape a towel over your head and breath deeply for five to ten minutes.

7) Try acupuncture - this pain free, non-invasive technique can be very effective, helping to calm down an overactive immune system. Used in the nose area it can help cut inflammation of the nasal and sinus area, the place where most of the discomfort of allergies can be felt.

By trying one or more of these seasonal allergy remedies, you just might find that you can enjoy the springtime (or anytime) without sniffling, sneezing or suffering.

Enjoying Nature Now A Prescribed Treatment?

It’s hard to argue with the idea that enjoying nature on a pleasant day is a reliable boost to your mood, now it might also be the advice that comes straight from your doctor. These days the benefits of nature… of filling your lungs with fresh air, feeling the breeze on your skin as you take in what’s around you are making their way into the health care advice of many doctors. It’s called ecotherapy (or sometimes nature therapy, earth-centered therapy or green therapy) and comes from a term used by counselor Howard Clinebell in his 1996 book of that name.

Ecotherapy not only helps your mood, it is also known to ease anxiety and stress, lift symptoms of depression. What’s more, it’s free… in terms of costs and side effects. This approach has also been used to help conditions like post cancer fatigue, diabetes, high blood pressure and, of course, obesity.

Before you dismiss it out of hand, as some new age nonsense, think about this. Man has evolved in harmony with nature for millions of years, and this has likely hard wired us with a need to interact with the environment around us… air, water, plants and other creatures.

Over the last 200 years we’ve become more and more removed from nature… too busy to appreciate the beauty of our natural surroundings. Today, over half the population of the world lives in cities.

There are academic programs, like the one at John F. Kennedy University that offer a graduate level certificate in ecotherapy. This program includes animal assisted therapy, horticultural therapy, time stress management and dealing with eco anxiety. Even so there’s no body of evidence that backs up the claims of the benefits of this form of treatment for any condition.

Despite this, being outdoors is still considered part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

Something else to consider – science has long understood that sunlight can ease depression, as we’ve seen with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). New work is telling us more. A 2007 University of Essex study found that a walk outside cut depression in 71% of the study participants. All it took was five minutes… outside in nature to bring a lift to mood, motivation and even self-esteem.

Other experts, like Kathy Helzlsouer, MD, MHS, have been recommending time outdoors to breast cancer survivors. For 30-40% of these patients, persistent fatigue is a real problem after treatment, but to help manage this fatigue, Helzlsouer advises her patients to follow a holistic program that includes tips of improving your diet, being more active, managing stress and brining nature into the healing process. So if you’re a gardener who’s too tired to enjoy your former favorite pastime, start out with five minutes of weeding and build from there. Non gardeners are told to find a local park and take a leisurely walk… combining exercise with a peaceful, enjoyable setting.

Then there’s this, a 2010 Japanese study of “Shinrin-yoku” (translated to “taking in the forest atmosphere, forest bathing”) found that parts of the environment like the smell of wood, the sound of running water, and the scenery of the forest can offer relaxation and lower stress levels. Those participating in the research experienced lower levels of stress hormone cortisol, a lower pulse rate and lower blood pressure.

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Bringing Nature Into The Healing Process… Continued…

Even kids can get in on the benefits of nature to the body. A Nevada area school nurse, Stacy Bosch, RN, MSN, NCSN, sees many students who are dealing with type 2 diabetes or are simply overweight. More often than not, these children spend little time outdoors. So Bosch writes a prescription for the whole family to go to a natural area and take a walk. So far, she’s received good feedback from the students and their families – happy to be doing something together that will benefit everyone.

Major medical groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association call for kids to get at least an hour of physical activity each and every day. Experts in ecotherapy are simply suggesting that some part of that be outside… in the fresh air and sunshine.

Even those in the inner city can benefit from enjoying nature. Walk more. Find a playground. And always, enjoy nature safely – keep an eye on the weather, go with someone (or let someone know where you are and when you’ll be back), wear the right clothing and shoes, and be aware of your surroundings.

Being Low in Vitamin D Ups Diabetes Risk

More news on vitamin D. A new study of Australian adults appearing in Diabetes Care finds that having blood low in vitamin d is associated with a higher risk of being diagnosed with diabetes. This comes after following over 5,000 adults for 5 years and seeing that a lower than average vitamin D level brought a 57% higher risk of type 2 diabetes compared to subjects with vitamin D levels in the recommended ranges. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, leaving your body unable to make (or use) insulin to control blood sugar levels.

Often called the sunshine vitamin, D is a natural part of foods like eggs, cod and salmon, and is added to dairy and other products.

Best known for bone health, this powerhouse of a nutrient has been showing itself as bringing other benefits to the body including help with asthma, some cancers, heart disease, as well as keeping blood sugar levels under control. The researchers believe that vitamin D might just play a part in controlling blood sugar by increasing the body’s release of insulin.

For the study, the researchers measured the levels of vitamin D in the blood of 5,200 diabetes free adults. At the end of 5 years, almost 200 had developed diabetes. Vitamin D levels were measured once more. More than two times as many subjects (6 out of 100) who had low blood levels of vitamin D went on to develop diabetes compared to subjects with blood levels in the normal range (just 3 in 100).

When experts accounted for diabetes risk factors like age, waist circumference and family history, the increased risk worked out to 57%, compared to subjects with higher levels of the vitamin in their blood. Calcium has also been considered to be part of insulin release by the body, but this time there was no link between the nutrient and being diagnosed with diabetes later on.

Your doctor will tell you that the best way to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and be active. Underscoring this point is the fact that most people with type 2 diabetes are overweight when diagnosed.

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Chronic Disease Linked To Lower Vitamin D Levels… Continued…

The levels of vitamin D over what’s recommended (600 IUs daily) for bone health are likely what’s needed to lower your risk of life altering type 2 diabetes according to lead author Dr. Claudia Gagnon, a fellow at the Western Hospital at Australia’s University of Melbourne. She cautions that these findings do not prove cause and effect. More work needs to be done.

We still need to know if vitamin D supplements make a difference, and how much of the vitamin should be circulating in the bloodstream. The link is hard to pin down according to Dr. Ian de Boer, assistant professor of medicine at Seattle’s University of Washington who didn’t work on the Australian research, but commented on the findings to Reuters Health. It is also possible that obesity and being inactive, the highest risks for type 2 diabetes, may also be the cause of  people being low in vitamin d.

Eat a Diet with Cayenne Pepper and Burn More Calories

If you’re not used to it, eating a diet with cayenne pepper might just help you burn calories and control your appetite according to a new study published in Physiology & Behavior, supported in part by the McCormick Spice Company along with the National Institutes of Health.

About a half teaspoon of red cayenne pepper (mixed in food or taken in capsule form) was found to help subjects of normal weight burn about 10 more calories over a 4-hour period, compared to eating the same exact meal without the pepper.

Cayenne is a chili pepper, and one of the most often consumed spices the world over. Most of these brightly colored veggies contain natural capsacin.

If you’re not a spicy food eater, this pepper is also likely to cut your appetite. But the effect isn’t the same if you eat the spice as part of your regular diet. What’s even better, the amount of red pepper you need is likely to be acceptable to most people.

To conduct the research, the team recruited 25 young adults (average age 23) on a college campus with an average BMI of 22, in other words, not overweight. There were 13 eaters of spicy food among the subjects, while 12 ate a more bland diet. The participants completed a total of six study visits, every other week for the study period and were told to avoid caffeine, alcohol and strenuous exercise before coming in for their visit. They also fasted for the 12 hours before testing and were measured for resting energy expenditure, core temperatures of both body and skin as well as appetite.

Subjects were then randomly assigned to eat a meal that either had (or didn’t have) red pepper in it. The study used ordinary dried, ground cayenne red pepper. Sometime the participants got the pepper in gelatin capsules so they didn’t even taste it. The appetite of the subjects was measured using a questionnaire both before the test meal and for every half hour afterward. At the end of each visit (three with red pepper and three without) the participants were allowed to eat as much macaroni and cheese, as they wanted.

On average, the subjects who were new to eating spicy ate about 66 fewer calories of the mac and cheese on the visits when they ate the red pepper meal; compared to the days they ate a non-peppered test meal. If you were a spicy food eater before the study, then you ate the same amount of mac and cheese at the end of each of your visits.

The cayenne seems to cut the appetite for fatty, salty and sweet foods.

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Burn Calories With This Secret Ingredient… Continued…

Richard Mattes, PhD, RD, from Purdue University believes the cayenne pepper stimulates one of the major nerves in the head and neck known as the trigeminal nerve. Since the research found that the appetite response was different for those who liked the red peppers and those who didn’t – it’s possible that a stimulus that isn’t a familiar one has more impact.

Taste appears to optimize the effects of the cayenne pepper.

That isn’t to say that you should suffer through a diet with cayenne pepper if you truly dislike it. It also means that you can’t live an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle, eating anything that crosses your path, take a few pepper capsules and drop weight. Serious, lasting weight loss doesn’t work like that. Still, adding some red pepper into your already healthy diet might just help you keep your calorie intake under control. It’s subtle to be sure, but it’s also an easy thing to try for yourself.

Reduce Your Exposure to BPA in Food

If you’re worried about your exposure to (Bisphenol A) BPA in food, there are some simple things you can do to reduce your exposure. A recent study finds that avoiding plastic packaging or canned foods might be a smart way to reduce the levels of this troublesome chemical in your own body. Only three days of eating freshly prepared or organically grown foods brought levels down by 66%.

Bisphenol A has gotten quite a lot of media attention and is found in many types of plastic packaging, some water bottles, sealing wrap and containers used for food storage. It lines the inside of most food cans.

BPA is known to be an endocrine disrupting chemical tied to lots of health issues, heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, infertility, even ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children.

Canada banned BPA from baby bottles back in 2008, and in that same year the Journal of the American Medical Association published research that showed adults who had the highest levels of BPA also had more than two times the risk of diabetes as those with the lowest BPA levels. Still the work only points out an association, it can’t say that the BPA is directly causing any health issue.

In the U.S. we are seeing more BPA free packaging. Some states have acted to limit BPA, others have outright banned its use in food in drink containers intended for use by children.

The FDA is still reviewing the issue and the U.S. NIH plans to spend $30 million to study the chemical for safety. In the meantime, some of the worlds largest food makers (Nestle, Heinz, General Mills) are working to find packaging alternatives.

This research offers some strong evidence that the packaging of foods is a major, though probably not the only, source of exposure to BPA and another chemical, a phthalate known as DEHP according to researcher Ruthann A. Rudel, MS a director of research in Newton, MA.

The subjects were 20 people from five San Francisco area families selected based on answers to queries about how often they drank from plastic bottles or an office water cooler, ate food from cans or at restaurants, or microwaved in the plastic container. All of these habits are known sources of exposure to both BPA and pthalates.

Phthalates are the chemicals that make plastic strong and clear.

The subjects provided urine samples before, during and at the end of the study. This gave the researchers the ability to check BPA, and other chemical levels.

For a three-day period a caterer who had been trained to prepare food without exposing it to chemicals delivered meals to the participants. No plastic utensils were used; foods were cooked on regular (not nonstick) cookware and stored in glass containers with plastic lids free of BPA. Even then, the researchers instructed the cooks not to overfill the containers so the food would have no chance to touch the lid.

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Simple Way to Reduce Your Exposure To Toxic BPA… Continued…

The meals were made from fresh fruits, veggies, grains and meats. Microwaving in plastic was forbidden as was using a coffee maker with any plastic parts. Coffee lovers got their morning beverage from ceramic drip models or French presses. Water came in stainless steel bottles, not plastic. Eating out was banned as many restaurant meals have also been found to have high levels of BPA.

By study’s end, the urine samples showed the BPA level dropped from 3.7 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) to 1.2 ng/mL The amount of DEHP decreased by almost half, starting at 57 ng/mL, ending at 25 ng/mL. Those who had the highest BPA levels at the start of the study saw the biggest drops – 76% for BPA and 95% for DEHP metabolites.

Knowing more about the ways we’re exposed to chemicals can help us all limit that exposure if we choose. The changes aren’t all that difficult… and the removal of these chemicals from the body takes place rather quickly. You don’t have to perfect… but you can do better by changing the way you shop, the way you cook and store foods.

The best advice when it comes to BPA in food, or any chemical, for that matter, is that if you don’t need to be exposed, reduce where you can. So don’t heat food in plastic containers or covered tightly in plastic wrap… but enjoy a meal out if you like.

Intermittent Fasting Cuts Diabetes and Heart Disease Risks

Interesting news…intermittent fasting with water might just bring down your heart disease risks and chances of developing diabetes according to work presented at this year’s scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology. The research was conducted in Salt Lake City where two thirds of the population are Mormons who fast one day every month in observance of their faith.

Interesting that heart disease rates are consistently lowest in the state of Utah. Until recently, many experts attributed this to the teaching of the Mormon Church that discourages smoking by members. But as smoking rates have dropped across the U.S., Utah continues to have a heart disease rate that is lower than the rest.

In earlier work, the same research team found that subjects who answered “yes” the to question, “Do you abstain from food and drink for an extended time?” had less heart disease. The latest study sought to reproduce and expand upon these earlier results, to see if this might be the reason for the lower heart disease risk.

A companion study that was presented at the ACC meeting, the researchers examined blood markers for heart risks among those who hadn’t fasted over the last 12 hours. The markers were checked when the subjects fasted and during a normal day of eating. The fasts were water only, though participants could take any necessary medication.

During the fast, the HDL (good) cholesterol rose, as did LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol numbers – not favorable to be sure, but the researchers believe the rise may be temporary. But, participants also saw reductions in dangerous blood fats known as triglycerides, as well as blood sugar levels. When you fast, the body goes into a self-protection mode to preserve the integrity of cells and tissue, using fats instead of sugars for fuel.

There are lots of questions to answer before anyone will suggest fasting as a treatment for heart disease. Researchers do know that those who fast have a lower prevalence of diabetes and heart disease, but just how this works will need more study before we can say for certain.

You’ve probably heard about fasts… juice fasts are popular on the internet. But comparing a water only fast to a juice fast is not a fair comparison. While they might provide a benefit to your heart, as shown in animal studies, the benefit is not as strong as the water only fasting.

Continues below…

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Cut Risk Of Heart Disease and Diabetes With This Technique… Continued…

You should also know that fasting isn’t for everyone. Young children, pregnant or nursing mothers and those with certain health conditions should not do this. If you’re not sure, talk with your doctor to see if a water only fast is safe for you. One of the other dangers is that a fast might prompt binge eating that destroys any healthy benefits you might have gotten.

Of course, Suzanne Steinbaum, MD, director of women and heart disease at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital says that while not eating will decrease certain numbers, doing something to extreme is not the best choice. What you eat, day in and day out, has far more impact on your heart disease risks than a single day event. Another thing, intermittent fasting isn’t a magic potion or quick fix… it’s a lifestyle choice that becomes a part of your life. Not just for a while, but over the long term.