New Diet Prevents Symptoms Of IBS

Important news for people suffering symptoms of IBS. Australian researchers have found that a low FODMAP diet might help to ease symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), though it may not work for everyone.

A FODMAP diet eating plan is very low in some natural sugars so it’s tough to stick with, but if you do manage to restrict foods like rye, wheat, white breasts and pasta, apples, watermelon, ice cream and honey, you may well see a reduction in your bloating, gas, abdominal pain and other disruptive, uncomfortable symptoms.

IBS affects almost 55 million, mostly female, Americans and brings symptom like cramping, bloating and stomach distension, stomach pain, excess gas, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and fatigue. No one knows what causes IBS, but stress and some foods/drinks are known to make symptoms worse. The good news is that while IBS makes you feel awful, it does not do permanent harm, or lead to more serious disease.

Most patients can control symptoms reasonably well with a combination of eating right, stress management and taking prescribed medications as directed. But for some, IBS can be disabling, keeping them from work, social events or travel.

A number of studies, though small, have shown benefits to the FODMAP eating plan according to Peter Gibson, MD a professor of gastroenterology at Australia’s Monash University.

In a study published earlier this year, more than 80% of the 43 subjects who followed a low FODMAP diet did feel less bloating, stomach pain and gas. This compared to only 50% to 60% of those who followed other eating advice. Gibson and the diet developer, Sue Shepherd, PhD who is a Victoria Australia dietitian, spoke about the eating plan at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.

Both Gibson and Shepherd believe that many more foods (those with natural FODMAP sugars) can also trigger the IBS symptoms.

So what’s this strangely named eating plan all about?

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Reduce Disabling Symptoms Of IBS With This… Continued…

FODMAP is an abbreviation for food molecules – Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols – all poorly absorbed by patients with IBS. When these foods are eaten they pull extra water into the stomach, bringing on the discomforts of IBS. Gibson believe that it is the sensitivity of the digestive system that may well determine who gets IBS and who doesn’t.

Long-term safety of the FODMAP diet has yet to be established, though it is gaining support in the U.S. healthcare community. Many aren’t sure if it is nutritionally sound enough, though Shepherd says this should not be a problem as long as the restricted foods are replaced with ones that add up to the same nutrition value.

Because the FODMAP diet is complex, you need to have a thorough exam to be sure you don’t have another condition besides IBS. Once you’re sure symptoms of ibs are your problem, you need to find a dietitian trained in low FODMAP eating so that you follow a plan that’s tasty and nutritionally sound as well. Eating this way is a big commitment, for both the patient and their family, but it may well prove to be a very helpful treatment for those whose symptoms are so severe that they interfere with daily activities.

Avoiding Scent Allergies

Some of the most powerful parts of the holiday season are the smells… candles that fill a room with the fragrance of home baked goodies, or air fresheners that leave a room filled with the refreshing outdoor scent of pine. These products add a subtle something to the air for some, while triggering uncomfortable scent allergies (and possibly asthma) for others.

As the popularity of these scented products has grown, allergists like Dr. Stanley Fineman who is president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) are seeing more complaints from patients about reactions to all the fragrance. There’s sneezing and coughing, and while there isn’t an allergy test for these products, people certainly seem capable of having strong reactions to them.

Fineman made a presentation on the risks of air fresheners and scented candles at the ACAAI 2011 meeting in Boston. He cited a 2009 study that appeared in the Journal of Environmental Health that found large numbers of Americans affected by pollutants in products we use every day.

Almost 11% of more than 2,000 adults who were surveyed reported a hypersensitivity to popular laundry products; almost 31% reported an adverse reaction to scents on other people, and about 19% reported problems (trouble breathing, headache) when around air fresheners. For those with asthma, the rate was 34% who had bothersome symptoms when exposed to air fresheners or scented candles.

These scented products do emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), defined as chemicals that form a gas or vapor when at room temperature. Some of the VOCs in air fresheners include formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, benzene, styrene, terpenes, alcohol, phosphates, bleach and even ammonia.

High concentrations of VOCs can trigger both eye and respiratory tract irritation, as well as headaches, dizziness and memory impairment. A study conducted in 2008 by a University of Washington researcher found that many laundry soaps and room deodorizers gave off potentially dangerous VOCs.

One plug in brand sent out more than 20 VOCs, 7 of these classified as toxic or hazardous under existing federal laws. Candles produce soot, organic compounds and VOCs – including benzene and lead.

Today Fineman estimates more than 75% of American homes use scented air fresheners and other such products. And not just for the holidays, now we expect our homes to smell pleasing year round, and with this demand, an industry has grown accordingly.

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Warning: Holiday Scented Candles, Air Fresheners Can Bring Allergic Reactions… Continued…

What’s more, these products aren’t limited to homes. More often scented oil diffusers and plug in deodorizers appear in the workplace. If you like the smell, you probably don’t mind, but if it left you sneezing and coughing you’d probably feel differently. Just because something smells good to you doesn’t mean that everyone will feel the same way. Often some smells, such as the food type can be tolerated, while flowery ones cannot.

The scented products industry group, Consumer Specialty Products Association, says that VOCs aren’t necessarily all that bad. Anything that emits a scent, they say, is sending out a VOC

In the U.S. air fresheners and other scented products are governed by the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, both requiring makes to inform consumers of risks and ingredients that might contribute to that risk. There are some who feel these requirements aren’t nearly strict enough.

If you find yourself uncomfortable with all the scented products, talk with an allergist about your symptoms and your fragrance exposure. There are coping strategies and treatments for scent allergies that can help.

Diet High In Foods With Trans Fats Linked to Depression

Let’s face it; at this time of year, there are lots of tasty holiday goodies about; foods with trans fats. Things you know in your head are not good for your heart or your waistline, but that doesn’t seem to matter as you give in to temptation.

Many believe that the good feeling that comes from eating these trans fat laden foods will last and last. In fact, according to the research from Spain just published in the Nutrition Journal, the good feeling that comes from indulgence in these treats doesn’t linger for long. Intriguing that the higher trans fat intake was linked to higher levels of depression, and the lowest scores on exams created to measure quality of life.

The most recent study on trans fats and quality of life conducted by Spanish researchers was designed to see if different types of fats had any effect on the quality of life (functional health, happiness and well being).

Over 8,400 subjects who were taking part in an ongoing Spanish nutrition study were used for the latest project. All the participants filled out a 136-item questionnaire on food when they started the program, four years later they completed a health survey intended to assess their current quality of life.

Trans fats were alone in showing a significant association with quality of life scores according to lead researcher Christina Ruano of the University of Las Palmas de Gram Canaria.

Participants whose diets had the most trans fats were also more likely to report things that were associated with a poorer quality of life. Things like feeling worn out, having a negative attitude toward both work and social life or holding negative beliefs about their own future health.

Of course trans fats are a recognized part of a poor diet and this likely has an impact on mood and how people feel. If you’re putting bad things into your body all the time, it’s not likely to feel very good or energized. Still, it’s not at all clear, even to the experts, that trans fats alone are to blame for a decreased quality of life.

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Eating Lots Of Trans Fats Can Reduce Your Quality Of Life… Continued…

Participants in the latest research were all college educated, and their average intake of trans fats was almost half that of the Spanish population in general, one quarter that of most Americans. This has researchers believing that the association could be even more robust in populations that have higher intakes of trans fats.

Trans fats are lab created with a process that adds hydrogen to liquid oil so that it becomes more solid. Once upon a time they seemed like a good idea, enhancing flavor, texture and shelf life so many foods.

You see these fats most often in fried fast foods, and heavily processed items like pastries, crackers and cookies. And while they taste good, they then go through your digestive tract and into your arteries, where they turn dangerous. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fats to under 7% of your total daily calorie intake, trans fats to less than 1%.

If you’re concerned about your own intake of foods with trans fats, there are things you can do. Shop smart and read nutrition facts carefully on any product you buy. Watch out for labels that say “0 Trans Fats” as the FDA allows this to be used on any product that has 0.5 grams of these fats per serving. Some of these items cost more, but not all of them do. Be sure to also look at the total fat content (saturated fat included) and choose products that have the least amount of fats or that use healthier canola oil.

Sitting For Too Long Can Lead to Cancer

Sitting for too long and being inactive has been linked with an estimated 100,000 cases of cancer each year according to estimates given at a news conference held at the annual meeting (this year in Washington, D.C.) of the American Institute for Cancer Research. It’s becoming more obvious all the time that activity (and inactivity) plays a significant role in the development of cancers.

We know that exercising as part of your daily routine has long been linked with lower risks of some cancers. How much time we spend sitting has been less well studied, until recently that is.

Earlier work has found that being sedentary – sitting for prolonged periods – has been associated with a higher risk of inflammation and other indications of cancer risk.

Senior Research Epidemiologist Christine Friedenreich, PhD from Canada’s Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care estimates that regularly being more active would prevent almost 100,000 breast and colon cancers in the Untied States each and every year.

To calculate the effect of being active on risk of cancer, Friedenreich used the SEER Program database from the National Cancer Institute. There were a total of 141,210 colon cancers and 230,480 breast cancers reported for the year 2011. She estimates that 30% (43,000) of the colon cancers could be avoided by increasing activity levels; almost 21% (49,000) of the breast cancers would also be prevented.

Today there is convincing evidence that regular exercise cuts the risk of both colon and breast cancers, and possibly endometrial as well. There’s weaker evidence on exercise’s effect on cancers of the lung, prostate and ovaries.

For colon cancer, those who worked out the most (the amounts varied from study to study) had a 30% to 35% reduction in risk compared to those who were least active. In breast cancer and activity studies, the most active subjects cut their risk by 20% to 30% when compared to the least active.

The important point to get here is that exercise is good for you, though researchers have yet to say just how much (or how little) you need. The thing is, you just can’t sit all day long.

Experts are encouraging Americans to change the way they think about being active. They need to find time for regular exercise while being aware of the dangers of sitting for long periods and working to counteract them.

The American Institute for Cancer Research tells adults who sit for long periods during the day to take one to two minute activity breaks each hour. Even if you exercise regularly, you need to understand that sitting for a long time is dangerous to you.

Here are some ways to work breaks into a desk bound day.

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Sitting Too Long A Risk For Cancer… Continued…

- Set the timer on your computer or smart phone to go off every hour. Then take a walk down the hall, outdoors or around the office.

- Hold meetings as you walk (inside or out) rather than sitting in a conference room. This works best with one or two other people.

- Refill a water cup regularly – using a small, 12oz. cup is best as it has you up regularly.

- When on the phone, stand up, stretch, walk around if you can.

- Investigate a standing workstation or kneeling chair.

Some experts believe that sitting time is soon to be acknowledged as a cancer risk factor in its own right. In research Neville Owen, PhD, of Australia’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and his team measured things like waist circumference, inflammation and other indicators of disease risks and found that breaks of a minute of two can make these biomarkers go down.

It’s high time all Americans began to rethink exercise – to make sure we get enough on a regular basis, but also try not to spend sitting for too long.

Sweet Drinks Are A Risk Factor Of Heart Disease

If you drink more than two sugary sweet drinks (including those popular flavored waters) per day, a new study presented at the American Heart Association’s 2011 annual meeting finds they are a risk factor of heart disease and you might have a higher risk for developing diabetes, even if you aren’t adding any weight from enjoying these popular, and tasty beverages.

These types of sugar-laden drinks are well known targets in the war on obesity and have already been removed from vending machines at many schools in an effort to limit the empty calorie temptations for kids.

Researcher Christina Shay, assistant professor from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and colleagues looked at the drinking habits of almost 4,200 subjects, both men and women, who were aged 45 to 84 years old and were of different ethnic backgrounds.

Using questionnaires to learn about drinking habits, the team also measured weight gain, waist circumference, levels of cholesterol and blood sugar, as well as who might be diagnosed with diabetes during follow up exams that continued over a five year period. None of the study participants had heart disease when the research started back in 2002.

The study found that middle aged women who consumed two (or more) sweetened drinks a day were almost four times as likely to have high levels of triglycerides and impaired blood sugar levels compared to those women who drank under one sweetened drink a day.

The sweetened beverage drinkers also had more belly fat, but not more weight than the non-drinkers.

Doctors know that fat in the belly area poses far more dangerous health risks than fat in other parts of the body. Fat in this area lies around vital organs and can produce hormones and other dangerous substances that have a negative impact on blood pressure, insulin production and cholesterol. Taken together, these are what are known as metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risks that have been associated with stroke, diabetes and heart disease.

The findings on sweet drinks did not hold for men, though no one knows precisely why this might be. It might be that women need less energy for metabolism than men because we have smaller bodies, less muscle mass overall. A 130-calorie soda accounts for a larger chunk of the daily energy of a woman than it does for a man – maybe men need to drink more sweetened beverages to see the same effect.

While cutting back on the sugar-laden drinks is not easy, it is a smart choice when it comes to improving your health. Think about this, women usually make the food (and drink) choices for the whole family, and this can have far reaching effects on others. As individuals, we need to exercise some control over how much we drink as these choices can have an incredible impact on our risk for heart disease.

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These Beverages Pose Heart Health Risk To Women… Continued…

Another study presented at the same AHA meeting in Orlando included 212 patients with heart failure, aged 61 years old and found that those who had low levels of vitamin C do worse than their counterparts who get enough vitamin C in the diet.

Heart failure patients with low levels of vitamin C were 2.4 times more likely to have more of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) in the blood – a marker of inflammation linked to heart disease. These people were more than two times as likely to be hospitalized (or die) from heart failure when compared to those who had higher levels of the vitamin and low levels of hsCRP.

It seems that those who eat a diet full of vitamin C (bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, lemon juice, oranges, papaya, strawberries) are likely healthier than those who don’t. As always, experts caution against favoring one good for you food over another – a balanced eating plan that includes lots of healthy foods is always best, as well as reducing your intake of sugary sweet drinks.

Diet Busters That Could Ruin Your Weightloss Efforts

If you’re planning to lose weight after the holidays, you know how important eating healthily is to your goal. The problem is, there are changes you might be encouraged to make by well meaning friends or relatives that don’t help you reach that goal, and might actually make things worse! Here are some of the most common diet busters and the truth about each of them.

1. Two percent milk is much lower in fat than whole milk. While this one sounds good, the truth is that 2% milk isn’t all that much lower in fat than the whole milk beside it in the dairy case. Whole milk has 3% fat. To be considered low fat, a food must have 3 grams of fat (or less) per serving, and the 2% variety of milk brings a hefty 4.9 grams of fat with each serving.

2. Brown eggs are healthier. Sadly, when it comes to eggs, the color of the shell has nothing to do with the nutritional value of the inside. Brown and white-shelled eggs are the same in terms of nutrition, but the brown ones generally cost more. Instead, choose brands that mention omega-3 fats on the labels (typically a part of the hen’s feed). You’ll pay more, but you’ll actually be getting something of value for your money.

3. Turkey bacon has less fat/sodium than traditional bacon. Although turkey is leaner than pork to start, that’s misleading in terms of the end product. You need to look at what’s been added to make the turkey taste like the pork bacon we all know (and love). Generally the salt, fat and calories of the two kinds are virtually the same, though some turkey varieties can be higher. You’ll want to shop around, read labels carefully to find brands that are truly lower in salt and fat.

4. Fresh produce is always a better choice than frozen. Frozen is a great option when the fresh varieties of your favorites are out of season. Think about this, when you buy out of season, you’re buying items that have been transported and stored, and thus have lost some of their nutrient value. Frozen fruits and veggies are frozen at their peak ripeness. Look for a brand that doesn’t add sugar, or any mix that is loaded with sauce. If you must buy canned, choose the low salt varieties for veggies, and look for fruits packed in natural juices. Rinsing canned veggies under cold water also cuts down on the sodium before you cook.

5. Salad is always a low calorie choice. A staple of diets, salads are quite often a delicious, good for you option, but not always the low calorie meal you think. Not after you load on meat (grilled or crispy) or the creamy dressing, now you’re taking in loads of extra calories along with those greens. Opt for the dressings with less fat, such as balsamic vinaigrette or Italian, and have them on the side, so you can control the amount you take in. To keep calories in check, avoid toppings like croutons, bacon, cheese or anything crispy, as they are sure to have more calories and fat then you want.

6. Margarine is better than butter. This is not a new debate, but what you need to understand is that depending on the type of margarine you buy, you could be using something that’s even worse for you than butter. Margarine is made with trans fats that raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol and lower the good (HDL) kind. A pat of butter (half a tablespoon) is just 45 calories and has no trans fats. If you simply must have your margarine, look for brands made with plant stanols as a healthier alternative.

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9 Healthy Eating Myths That Will Ruin Your Diet… Continued…

7. Switching to juice from soda saves on sugar. While no one will argue that cutting back on your soda intake is good, drinking juice isn’t always an improvement in terms of your weight. A can of soda has almost the same amount of sugar as a cup of unsweetened apple or orange juice. And while 100% fruit juice can bring you many good things (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) too much can add inches to the waistline. Limit yourself to no more than 8 ounces of 100% fruit juice a day and drink refreshing, no calorie water more often.

8. Reduced fat peanut butter is healthier. Not so. The reduced fat variety of peanut butter isn’t necessarily a better, healthier choice. There’s more sugar and sodium added to improve the taste and shelf life of the reduced fat content product. Read the fine print on the labels as many of these products contain trans fatty acids or partially hydrogenated oils and really aren’t all that good for you… certainly no better than limiting your intake of the regular kind of peanut butter.

9. Swapping frozen yogurt for ice cream will save calories. You might think because it’s yogurt, it has to be healthier, but then you eat more of it, taking in just as many calories as if you’d had the ice cream in the first place. There are actually some brands of frozen yogurt that have nearly double the calories of a light, slow churned ice cream. Your best bet is to read labels and watch those portion sizes to avoid these diet busters.

Obesity Gene Effect Cancelled Out By Doing Exercise

Now here’s a reason to get up and get active in the New Year. A new bit of research appearing in PLoS Medicine finds that even you have the obesity gene, you can fight back by doing exercise.

Being active is able to reduce the effects of the so-called “fat mass and obesity associated” (FTO for short) obesity gene. Earlier work has found that almost 74% of all U.S. adults who are of European ancestry carry a genetic variation of the FTO gene that can bring weight gain… putting too many of us on the slippery slope of obesity.

For the study, the team, led by Ruth J.F. Loos of the U.K.’s Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit examined data on an impressively sized sample, more than 218,000 adults, to be sure the gene does raise the risk of becoming obese. They saw that indeed it did, but that adults who exercised as a regular part of their routine had a 33% lower risk of being obese when compared to more sedentary adults.

The take home message, according to experts, is that even if something is wired into your genetic code, you can do something to manage the effect it will have on you… and your future health.

There are things you can do, today and every day that will keep this nasty gene from having its way and leaving you dangerously heavy and at higher risk for disease. Rather than giving in to your “fate”, experts encourage you to fight even harder, because you can beat the genetics. Regular exercise is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Other experts who work in the genetics of obesity have discovered that the FTO gene has people craving an added 200 more calories each day. It’s all about the consumption of calories not how the body handles those calories, so it makes sense that offsetting the extra intake, say by a 2 mile walk, can have quite an impact.

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Exercise Can Reverse Genetic Predisposition For Obesity… Continued…

This latest work might also help in the development of medications to block the effect of the FTO gene, though testing for the gene is still rather controversial.

In a PLoS Medicine editorial published along with the research, J. Lennert Veerman, PhD, a senior fellow out of the School of Population Health at Australia’s University of Queensland suggests that testing for genetics associated with obesity doesn’t change the advice you’d give to an obese patient. Eat a healthy, well balanced diet and exercise on a daily basis – this is good advice to anyone, regardless of genes.

The encouraging news in all of this is that, yet again, we see plainly the value of lifestyle choices when it comes to our own health and overcoming things like the obesity gene. We can, and do, have control – we are not at the mercy of our genetics. While not smoking is one of the most important choices we make in order to keep both lungs and heart healthy, eating a balanced, natural diet and doing exercise regularly are equally important. These choices help us avoid packing on the pounds and upping the chances of dangerous, life-altering conditions like diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer.

Resveratrol Benefits Could Increase Metabolism Rate

Enjoying a drink of rich red wine this season to increase metabolism rate? Sounds like strange advice to be sure, but if the findings of a small Dutch research project involving obese men are reproduced, the resveratrol benefits found in the delicious, red beverage might actually become a part of a healthy diet.

This latest study finds a benefit to metabolism, the equal of a calorie-restricted diet, from a natural compound in red wine known as resveratrol.

According to lead researcher Patrick Schrauwen from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, this recent research is the first time resveratrol has been shown to work in people, and this opens the door for more work to see if it might help those with type 2 diabetes.

Resveratrol is an antioxidant that’s found largely in grape skin, and therefore red wine. Brought to popular attention in the 1990s as a possible explanation for the “French Paradox” – the low incidence of heart disease among the French who are known to eat a pretty high fat diet, the substance has received a lot of attention while spawning a host of questionably effective products.

The researchers gave resveratrol to 11 healthy, though obese, men at a dose of 150 milligrams for 30 days. To get this much resveratrol in non-supplement form, the researchers say you’d have to drink more than two gallons of red wine a day, certainly something that is not recommended.

The supplements acted like a low cal diet, bringing good things like a lower metabolic rate, less fat in the liver, lower blood pressure and blood sugar as well as changes in the way the muscles burned fat.

When it comes to obesity, no one is sure if burning fewer calories is good or bad according to Schrauwen, but the research suggests that the supplements left cells functioning better, just as they do on a restricted calorie diet. What’s more, there were no serious side effects in the subjects taking the supplements. That’s certainly a good thing.

Studies in animals have found that resveratrol does reduce insulin resistance and offers some protection against the ill effects of a high fat diet. This is just what happens when you cut the number of calories you consume, something experts have come to recognize will delay the onset of diseases related to aging, perhaps extend lifespan.

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This Natural Compound Might Help Boost Metabolism… Continued…

When it comes to resveratrol supplements, keep in mind that many are selling products that are loaded with fillers and low amounts of the beneficial compound. Reviews are a good source of information about supplements, as are doctor recommendations so do your homework if you’re interested in taking them.

Remember eating healthy is a balancing act. It’s important to understand that too much of the wrong things are just as troublesome as too little of the right kinds of nutrients. Eating a variety of healthy foods is always best, and that as important as what you take in, regular exercise is a recognized part of staying healthy and strong through the years.

Though resveratrol is readily available, more research is needed to see if it can fulfill the hopes experts have for it to increase metabolism rate. Researchers still don’t know what the long-term effects of this type of supplementation will be… the effects might wear off over time. All of us need to proceed with care.

The work on Resveratrol Benefits appears in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Reducing Colon Cancer Risk Factors With High Fiber Foods

We all know fiber is good for us, now we’re learning more about just how good. Eating a diet that’s full of fiber is associated with a lower colon cancer risk factors according to research from Britain and the Netherlands that examined no less than 25 studies on the subject.

Total fiber intake, and fiber that came from whole grains and cereals was most associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer risk, while fiber from fruits, veggies and legumes was not quite as good in terms of cancer risk.

This isn’t to say that you should cut fruits and veggies from your diet. There were simply fewer studies on the impact of these foods on colon cancer risk. It may just be a matter of not having enough data. And then, fiber might just be one beneficial part of these foods

Cutting your intake of red and processed meat, as well as limiting alcohol intake are all well studied in terms of reducing the risks of colon cancer. And though fiber is known to be good for us, its role in colorectal cancer, unlike heart disease, is less well researched.

This was the motivation for the team of researchers to scour the medical literature to find 25 well constructed, scientifically sound studies that included over 2 million subjects and looked at the data from all of them.

Comparisons were made between groups who had the highest intake of fiber each day and those that had the lowest intake. The amounts varied from study to study, but when the team compared groups who ate the lowest amounts with those who ate more, they saw some interesting results.

The team found a 10% risk reduction in cancer of the colon for each 10 grams of fiber consumed per day.

The more fiber a subject ate, the more reduction in the risk. This is an association – not cause and effect. Over 141,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are estimated to be diagnosed in the United States this year alone according to the American Cancer Society.

The more fiber you take in each day, the better according to researcher Dagfinn Aune of Imperial College London.

We know that American’s don’t get the fiber they should. Most of us take in about 15 grams a day, far below the recommended 25 grams of fiber a day for women, 38 grams a day for men. As a point of reference, a slice of wheat bread brings 2 grams of fiber, a cup of oatmeal comes with double that, or 4 grams of fiber.

Eating enough fiber brings lots of benefits including…

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Certain Foods Linked With Reduced Risk Of Colon Cancer… Continued…

1. Improved control over cholesterol levels

2. Improved control over blood sugar

3. Lower risk of hemorrhoids and diverticular disease

4. Less constipation

5. Aids in weight loss

And while experts are still trying to figure out why fiber might bring down colon cancer risk, there are theories. One of the more popular is that fiber might cut the “transit time” of food in the digestive system, so cancer causing chemicals just don’t spend as long inside our bodies. The fiber could also dilute carcinogens that accumulate in the colon itself. It’s important to understand that…

1. Colon cancer likely develops over many years, so starting taking in more fiber during your 50s might not be enough to protect you from getting this form of cancer in your 60s..

2. Where you live and who is around you, even what you do for work can impact your risk as well.

3. Lack of exercise contributes to colon cancer development

4. Other colon cancer risk factors include chronic inflammation such as with inflammatory bowel disease.

Ways to Look Younger Naturally

Looking for ways to look younger naturally? A big, bright smile appears to be Mother Nature’s answer to the face lift and botox, at least according to the findings of a new study that appears in Psychology and Aging.

We know that smiling draws people to us, changes our mood (even if you’re in a bad mood), helps us feel more positive and confident, eases stress, boosts your immune system, lowers blood pressure by a measureable amount, releases endorphins… now research is offering proof that a smile can erase the years as well.

The study, conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, found that when people looked at pictures of cheerful faces they guessed the age of the person in the photo to be younger than in photos of the same person wearing an angry or neutral expression. This is the first bit of evidence to show that facial expressions have any impact on the accuracy (or bias) of estimates of a person’s age.

For the research, 154 adults, young, middle aged and older looked at multiple photos of 171 male and female faces of all ages wearing different expressions portrayed in 2,052 pictures. The expressions worn were either angry, disgusted, fearful, happy, sad or neutral. The facial expression had a big impact on the accuracy of age estimates.

Continues below…


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Simply Doing This Makes You Look Years Younger… Continued…

Compared to other expressions, neutral faces brought the most accurate estimate of age. Yet the age of happy/smiling faces was most likely to be underestimated by almost 2 years. Of course the age of the guessor also played a part. It was harder for the participants to guess the age of older faces versus younger ones. What’s more, the older the person was, the worse they were at guessing the right age.

Older and younger adults were better at guessing the age of those in their own age group, compared with other age groups. Perhaps it’s easy to recognize those who are at your own, rather familiar, stage of life.

Estimates of how old someone might be are usually based on more than a single cue, but increasingly there are times when a photo is all that’s available according to the researchers. With the rise in popularity of social networks (LinkedIn, flickr, Facebook, twitter) it’s become common to share photos, often without any background. The impressions these photos leave with others are powerful things, and need to be understood when choosing that all-important profile picture.

The researchers can’t say for sure just yet why smiling makes you look younger naturally, but they do have some working theories. Smiling creates temporary wrinkles about the eyes and mouth, so it’s hard for picture viewers to tell what wrinkles come from the smile, and which ones were already there. Smiling also makes us look more attractive, and this might help us to look years younger than the number on our driver’s license, or allow us to be judged in a more positive light.