Proof Cranberry Juice Could Prevent UTI Infection

Drink up! Cranberry juice does appear to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) according to a new report. For those who don’t know, a UTI is an infection in the urinary tract. As many as 50% of adult women will develop at least one UTI over a lifetime experts say, so it’s no wonder cranberries and products made with cranberry have gotten so much attention – anything that can prevent or treat this painful and uncomfortable infection is worth a try.

While those of any age and both sexes can be diagnosed with a UTI – about four times as many women as men get this type of infection. Those most at risk of UTIs include pregnant women, elderly people and those who have a condition known as neuropathic bladder. Symptoms vary, for young women the most obvious symptom of a UTI is a persistent and intense urge to urinate and a painful burning when you do. Other women or men are more likely to be tired, shaky and weak, with muscle aches and stomach pain. The best way to protect yourself from UTIs is to shower before and after sex, avoid thong underwear and always wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom.

In an effort to understand more about cranberry and its effects, researchers from Taiwan examined at 13 studies that compared products with cranberry to an inactive placebo among 1,616 subjects in both North America and Europe. Nearly all of the trials studied were six months long.

The findings support what folk remedies knew already – cranberry does offer protection against the common UTI, especially for women, those who have repeat infections, children and those who drink cranberry juice as opposed to taking a supplement. In fact, people who consumed two servings of cranberry products got more protection than those who didn’t normally have this level of intake.

Cranberry juice appears to work better than a supplement in either capsule or tablet form. This may be due to some synergistic effect from a compound in the juice that’s not naturally a part of cranberry supplements. Drinking the juice in normal amounts shouldn’t cause any problems, but too much can bring an upset stomach and diarrhea. With a high sugar content, those with diabetes or glucose issues should choose sugar free cranberry juice varieties instead.

Products that have natural cranberry could reduce the incidence of these painful infections for those already at high risk according to study lead Dr. Chien-Chang Lee, who is also the director of the department of emergency medicine at National Taiwan University Hospital Yunlin Branch.

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More Proof Cranberry Juice Might Prevent UTI Infection Continued…

Just how cranberries hold off UTI infections isn’t fully understood. It may be that because cranberry juice makes urine more acidic, it’s that much harder for bacteria to accumulate on the bladder wall. However, cranberry juice is not right for everyone, especially those who take blood thinners. It’s also smart to bear in mind that this current review involved many differences including study populations and intakes of cranberry, making the finding preliminary, with more research needed.

And while cranberry juice might help prevent that infection, once you have one, health care professionals are agreed – antibiotics are the only way to get rid of it. Preventing another of these infections should include doing all you can to support your immune system. Be sure you eat well; exercise and get the right amount of sleep most of the time.

The work appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Finding Calm and Serenity Now

You’ve heard the mantra, but if you’re easily roused and riled, serenity now is more of a hope than a reality… until now. New research is the first to suggest what might work in the heat of the moment – pretend you’re looking at the irritating situation from a distance rather than being a participant in it. The finding comes from researchers at Ohio State University and the University of Michigan who saw that a self distancing strategy can impact how angry and aggressive you become when someone presses your buttons.

What’s more, the technique can be easily and quickly learned, and works great when you’re faced with a heated, temper provoking situation.

The experiment began by subjecting study participants (undergraduate college students) to a loud, intense bit of classical music while asking them to solve 14 difficult anagrams (rearranging the letters in words to form other words) in seven seconds and announcing the solution over an intercom. Participants were provoked further by being repeatedly interrupted and eventually sharply derided by the researchers. If this weren’t challenging enough, the participants were told to think about the anagram task and assigned to one of three groups…

· To recall the incident and immerse themselves in it, letting the situation unfold again through their own eyes.

· To recall the incident and look at it from a distance, as if you were watching what transpired from far away.

· Given no specific directions on recalling the anagram incident.

That’s when the real research started, testing the participants for angry feelings and aggressive thoughts. In the first test, 94 of the college students were asked to report on mood and complete words that could be positive or negative. K— could be kiss or kite, or kill.

For the second experiment the researchers took things one step further and told study subjects, a new set of participants, that they were competing with a student partner (who had been harsh and unflattering during the anagram part of the experiment) and a victory would let them blast the loser with an intense noise via headset, with free choice of both decibel level and duration.

The participants who used the self-distancing technique were less irritable and acted less aggressively during this test. They used shorter, less intense noises than those who used the immersion approach or were members of the control group. This shows that the self-distancing technique can work in the heat of the moment, when the emotions are still fresh.

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Uncover The Secret To Finding “Serenity Now” Continued…

Understand that nobody self distances naturally – when we get mad people think back on what was said, fuss and fume. It’s hard not to, but experts say that this is, in fact, the worst thing you can do. Rather than having the beneficial and cathartic effect folk wisdom says will come, this approach actually keeps aggressive thoughts and anger active in your mind, making it far more likely that you’ll act aggressively… lash out… say something in anger.

What you need to do is try to look at the situation that is provoking you as if you were a fly on the wall suggests study co-author Brad J. Bushman, who is a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State. You don’t want to get immersed in your own anger and black mood. Instead try to neutralize your aggression by detaching and looking at the situation as an outsider, a fly on the wall, might see it, and you’ll find it easier to interact without overreacting.

Bad Sleep Just As Bad For Your Immune System As Stress

Some important news on sleep and your immune system. A new study, appearing in the journal Sleep, finds that serious sleep deprivation can have the same impact on your immune system as physical stress does. Experts are well aware that millions of us are not getting the amount of restful, restorative sleep we need, and that many who struggle with sleep issues go undiagnosed and untreated. And while individual sleep needs might vary, science agrees that humans are wired to be awake (and productive) for 16 hours, to rest for around 8 hours.

A team of researchers on sleep came from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom saw that sleep loss triggers the production of white blood cells, known to science as granulocytes. These cells react right away to the physical stress of lack of sleep, and mirror the body’s natural stress response explains study lead author Katrin Ackermann who is a postdoctoral researcher from the Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam.

To conduct the research, the team tracked the white blood cell counts of 15 healthy young men who stuck to a strict schedule of getting eight hours of sleep every night for a full week. The subjects were exposed to at least 15 minutes of outdoor light within the first hour and a half after waking, and also prohibited from using caffeine, alcohol or any medication during the final three days. These measures were used to stabilize their circadian rhythm and minimize sleep deprivation before the more intense part of the study – staying awake for 29 hours straight.

Researchers compared white cell counts during this normal sleep/wake cycle to the numbers produced by the same subject during the sleep deprivation part of the experiment. The white cells taken from the sleep deprived subjects showed a loss of day/night rhythm and reacted immediately to the stress of being awake a full 29 hours in a row.

Earlier work in this area has shown us that sleep deprivation is linked to the development of certain diseases – conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and even obesity. There have also been studies to suggest that chronic lack of sleep is a risk for an impaired immune system. Moving forward, the current team of researchers would like to see more work examining how sleep loss contributes to the onset of specific diseases.

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Poor Sleep: Just As Bad For Your Immune System As Stress Continued…

Interesting too that the need for sleep doesn’t go down as we get older; rather the ability to sleep uninterrupted for 6 to 8 hours becomes the problem.

Sleep experts know that stress is the number one cause of short-term sleep problems. Other things that can impact your sleep include drinking alcohol or caffeinated drinks too close to bedtime, exercising too close to bedtime, working or doing other mentally challenging activities before bed, and following an irregular sleep/wake schedule can all be to blame when It comes to trouble falling off.

Certain medications (decongestants, steroids, asthma, depression or high blood pressure drugs) can also cause problems with sleep. Let your doctor know you are having this side effect and discuss ways to avoid it – never stop taking a medication you’ve been prescribed without talking to your doctor first.

Any sleeping problem that lasts more than a few weeks should be brought to the attention of your health care provider. Letting short-term issues go untreated makes it more likely your sleep troubles will become chronic and much harder to treat.

How To Live To Your 100th Birthday…

Want to live to be one hundred? Put others first, drink whiskey… that’s the advice of 106 year old Nora Hardwick when asked how to live a long life. Experts believe that genetics, environment, outlook, maybe even a bit of luck all play a part in how many birthdays you celebrate. Yet many of those fortunate souls who reach their 100th birthday see the reason for their long life as rather simple – a desire to keep living life, a willingness to adapt to changes and a refusal to live in the past.

Nora is not alone in crediting longevity to a lifelong philanthropic lifestyle. Studies have suggested a drop in mortality figures for those who put others before themselves. The so called “helper’s high” is a sensation that comes as a result of the endorphins released after an act of kindness. This cannot only bring down stress, but also promotes well-being and strengthens the immune system.

More traditional theories on longevity have concentrated on the changes we can make to lifestyle in order to prevent age related diseases. Things like engaging in regular exercise and following a balanced, healthy diet are mentioned by nearly everyone. Not surprisingly, there’s research that suggests a low calorie diet can improve life expectancy by as many as 25 years. But explaining how and why we get older is far more challenging.

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How To Live To Your 100th Birthday… And Beyond Continued…

In a new book on the subject titled Identically Different, Tim Spector, an expert on aging out of Kings College London, examines research into an area of study known as epigenetics – how your environment and decisions you make impact your genetic code. We know now that exercise switches off the main obesity genes, for example. Perhaps the same could one day be done for aging – somehow encouraging our genes to keep our bodies healthy.

It’s entirely possible that the difference in how you view a situation could impact the genes affecting your brain; and this could change chemicals and alter stress levels which would impact your health and how long you live. A study in the journal Applied Psychology, Health and Wellbeing seems to back this theory – positive thinkers/happier people live longer.

Willpower and a strong drive may also be intangible factors in living longer. Together these characteristics indicate an optimistic, upbeat view on life, and this gets you out and doing things… taking chances… living. A more negative outlook tends to have people fussing over possible outcomes and worrying about being hurt. Spector is convinced that the research shows an active lifestyle is critical when aiming to live a long, healthy life. A positive outlook doesn’t hurt either.

For some who reach 100 years old an upbeat outlook may deserve the credit. There is evidence that mildly optimistic people live longer than those who have a pessimistic outlook on life.

And what about the occasional glass of whiskey or other indulgence suggested by Ms. Hardwick? While doctors warn of the dangers of drinking too much alcohol, a recent UCLA study (on worms, not people) has found that intake of small amounts of alcohol could help improve life expectancy. The researchers used worms because an amazing half their genes have human counterparts – so the finding, though strange sounding, may well have implications for aging.

Diabetes Linked To Large Waist Size

A warning about diabetes, especially for women. A new study in PLoS Medicine finds diabetes linked to a large waist size, even if you’re not heavy enough to be considered obese.

For many years experts have used both body mass index (BMI) and waist size to measure a patients’ risk of disease. Anyone with a BMI of 30.0 or over or a non-obese person with a large waist is considered by medicine to be at risk of diabetes.

This latest study finds that just waist size can predict risk… especially for a woman. The team evaluated data on over 28,500 subjects living in eight European nations who were taking part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC for short) that looked at lifestyle and other things in relation to chronic disease.

The researchers compared almost 12,400 subjects with type 2 diabetes with almost 16,100 who did not have the condition, looking at waist and BMI data.

They saw that…

- Overweight women (and men) who had a 35-inch (40 inch) plus waist measurement had a 10-year incidence of diabetes that was similar to that of obese subjects.

- Higher waist measurement and higher BMI were both linked with higher risk of diabetes.

- Larger waist measurement was a stronger risk factor for women than men.

- Obese men with a 40 inch plus waist were 22 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than those who had low to normal BMI (18.5-22.4) and smaller (under 37 inches) waist.

- Obese women who had a 35-inch plus waist were nearly 32 times as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as those of low normal weight and smaller (under 31 inches) waist.

So a man, or woman, who isn’t obese but does have a very large waist has the same risk of diabetes as an obese individual according to researcher Claudia Langenberg, MD, PhD, from the Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke’s Hospital located in Cambridge, England. It may be that more and more doctors start using tape measures over the scale to assess the health of their patients.

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Waist Size Alone Could Predict This Health Risk… Continued…

A large waist measurement is considered 35 inches (or more) in a woman; 40 inches (or more) in a man. Measuring waistlines exactly the same way each time can be a challenge due to irregularity or inconsistency – which is why many prefer relying on the easier to use BMI, but an accurate waist measure can be recorded if you’re careful.

For those who can’t tell if they even have a waist (with body narrower above the hips than below) here’s a simple tip. Hang your arms at your sides and measure at the place where the point of your elbow falls – you’ll need help, clearly. The measuring tape should wrap around your body snugly, but not be biting into your flesh – to do this, breathe out and then take shallow breaths as you measure

According to the American Diabetes Association almost 19 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, most with type 2 – where the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or the cells of the body don’t use it effectively. This latest research has fine tuned what medical professionals have known for a long time, while also sounding another warning about the dangers of having a large waist size.

Possible Cause Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Could a possible cause of inflammatory bowel disease, IBDs, be the result of what we’re eating? Many of the most common processed foods so readily and temptingly available also contain lots of sugars and fats that not only change the way our food is digested, but also encourage the growth of harmful bacteria.

This unsettling theory comes from experiments on mice that were presented in the journal Nature linking some fats, bacteria in the digestion and the onset of inflammatory bowel disease.

An estimated 1.4 million Americans were diagnosed with IBDs during 2011.

Modifying the bacteria of the digestive tract might help treat disease… conditions like the most common of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) – Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, known to cause the intestines to grow inflamed, red and swollen; most likely due to a mistaken immune reaction of the body against its own tissue.

While we’ve learned there appears to be a genetic component to the condition, some mystery remains. The incidence of disease, according to the study researchers form the University of Chicago, is increasing quickly in Western nations.

To conduct the latest work, the team examined genetically modified mice that were more likely to develop an IBD. One in three developed colitis when fed either a diet of low fat or high polyunsaturated fat foods. The number jumped to two in three in the mice fed a diet that was loaded with saturated milk fats, the very things in the processed and sweetened foods we enjoy so readily today. Could these substances be the catalyst that activates some immune disorders?

It seems that such saturated fats are hard to digest, and the natural body response is to send more bile into the gut. This changes the environment and the organisms growing there. In particular, the bacteria known as Bilophila wadsworthia thrives in all that extra bile. This organism went from being rare to almost 6% of the total bacteria in the guts of the high fat diet eating mice.

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These Fats Might Alter Gut Bacteria, Setting You Up For Bowel Diseases… Continued…

The thing about this organism is it can be harmful. They’re able to activate the immune system of those who are genetically prone to disease. The amazing thing is that there may be a future treatment – an effort to reshape the microbial contents of the digestive tract without significantly impacting lifestyle.

Other experts agree that this research provides the first credible explanation for how the Western diet contributes to the unexpectedly high incidence of IBDs; it also gives us an effective way of coping with this disease.

If you’re living with an IBD, get the support you need (support group, family, counselor) and learn all you can about your condition including the truth behind oft repeated myths. Many with these conditions have sought alternative or complementary therapies to deal with the cause of inflammatory bowel disease – be sure to talk to your own doctor before taking any product or supplement as these products are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and can make claims that may, or may not, be true.

Little Known Liposuction Side Effect

Thinking about liposuction… know this. A new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism finds that women who have the increasingly popular procedure may just be trading one type of fat for another with a little known liposuction side effect.

A sudden removal of abdominal fat seems to naturally trigger the body to buildup fat around the internal organs. Brazilian researchers believe there’s a sort of trade off between the removal of subcutaneous fat found under the skin that spurs the development of more dangerous visceral (internal) fat.

This type of fat, deeper down, is able to wrap itself around your organs, and has been reliably linked to a raised risk for both diabetes and heart disease.

The good news? Liposuction patients who took up an exercise program after their surgery remained free of the subcutaneous fat and mostly prevented the growth of visceral fat. A four month, supervised exercise program prevented the visceral fat the body makes naturally to compensate after liposuction from returning. It also upped the fat free mass and improved physical capacity and insulin sensitivity of the subjects.

The study authors focused on 36 healthy Brazilian women, aged 20 to 35, who had abdominal liposuction from 2010 and 2011. None of the subjects had a body mass index (BMI) over 30 before the procedure – so they were overweight not obese. The surgeries were all termed small volume.

Two months after surgery the women were split into two groups – the first followed a four-month, three times per week exercise plan; the second maintained that oh-so-unhealthy sedentary lifestyle.

Exercisers engaged in aerobic and weight training during this time. Six months after surgery, neither group had regained any fat in the abdominal area that was the target of the surgery, but those in the sedentary group saw an almost 10% increase in visceral fat while the exercisers did not.

It’s not yet clear how liposuction increases the risk of visceral fat growth, but at least we know that exercise can make an impact, can keep that most dangerous type of fat from appearing.

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Liposuction Might Have Dangerous “Boomerang” Effect… Continued…

Many plastic surgeons agree with the study findings, that while you can get rid of some fat with surgery, if you don’t change how you eat… how you live… that fat won’t stay away for long. Considering the significant costs and serious risks of this type of procedure, it seems unlikely that anyone wouldn’t want to do what’s needed to prevent the gain of dangerous fat. Cardiovascular exercises are some of the best choices – jogging, swimming, biking, roller blading – anything that gets your heart rate up for an extended time will do the trick. Exercise can, and does, make a positive change… and it’s something you can do for yourself right now.

Other researchers wonder how the findings would play out among those who were far more overweight than the subjects of the study.

It’s important to understand that while popular, accessible and offering appealing slimming and shaping results, liposuction is a serious surgical procedure. Liposuction side effects include a long recovery that may be painful, that may have the surgical site bruised and swollen… so it’s not something to be entered into lightly, without careful thought, investigation and follow up. The best candidates for the procedure are those who are reasonably fit but have localized fat deposits that do not respond to weight control or fitness.

Exercises To Reduce Cholesterol

Trying to get those cholesterol numbers in line? Your doctor has probably told you that exercise is one thing you can do to get your numbers in the healthy range, but you probably still have a few questions. What kind of exercises to reduce cholesterol work best? How long should you do it? How often? And perhaps the most pressing question of all – how much impact can exercise have on cholesterol numbers?

So long as you’re exercising the right way, experts like Patrick McBride, MD, MPH, director of the preventive cardiology program and the cholesterol clinic at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, believe the answer to that last question is quite a lot. Being active on a regular basis affects your cholesterol levels in two beneficial ways…

- Helps to lower triglycerides that at high levels are associated with heart disease.

- Helps to raise levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) in your blood.

If you exercise regularly you can bring your triglycerides down by 30% to 40%, and bring up that HDL by 5 to 8 mg/dL. Notice we haven’t mentioned LDL (bad) cholesterol here. Unfortunately it appears exercise cannot bring this value down, unless you also loose a significant amount of weight. Your doctor has probably told you that being too heavy is known to increase the amount of LDL in your blood.

When it comes to what kind of exercise is best, experts stress it’s not so much the type of workout as it is how often you do it.

Where once doctors recommended only aerobic endurance workouts for cholesterol lowering, it turns out that a number of studies on resistance training have shown some powerful effects on cholesterol – especially if you do moderate strength training a lot – circuit training with 10 reps each station, with three cycles of the whole circuit – you can get some very respectable improvements in your cholesterol numbers.

Typically experts recommend a combination of exercise to get the most benefit to your cholesterol numbers…

- Aerobics get your heart rate up.

- Strength training builds muscle.

- Flexibility exercise to keep you limber.

And how intense should those workouts be?

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Best Exercises To Control Your Cholesterol… Continued…

While some fitness regimens call for you to “feel the burn”, working to bring cholesterol numbers down isn’t one of those. Frequency and the amount of time you spend exercising are what count more in this case. You’ll want to go for moderate intensity of a good long duration – at least a half hour of exercise five to six days each week. Forget getting your heart rate in some “target zone” instead shoot for low resistance and a nice long, 45-minute workout.

Remember, true fitness means that you are strong, flexible and have endurance – something you get from regular workouts like the type described above. All exercise is good exercise and has incredible benefits (not just to cholesterol levels) for your body. Engaging in exercises to reduce cholesterol will also help your heart, your blood pressure, improve diabetes and bring down your risk of heart attack or devastating stroke.

Health Benefits Of Eating Breakfast

Yet another reason to make time for a healthy breakfast each morning. Some new research on the benefits of eating breakfast finds that those who eat breakfast daily are less likely to be either obese, gain fat around the middle or develop type 2 diabetes. Even getting that morning meal in from four to six times a week might be enough according to researcher Andrew Odegaard, PhD, MPH, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

The work was presented at the 2012 meeting of the American Diabetes Association and included over 5,000 adults who didn’t have diabetes at the start of the study. Seven years into the research, the subjects completed diet questionnaires that included an item on how many times each week they ate breakfast.

Daily breakfast eaters were…

- 34% less apt to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes,

- 43% less apt to be obese,

- 40% less apt to have fat around the tummy area,

…when compared to those who ate breakfast three or less times a week. Those who ate a morning meal four to six times per week did well too. Here’s how they stack up against those who ate breakfast three (or fewer) times weekly…

- 24% less apt to have type 2 diabetes

- 25% less apt to be obese

The study findings did account for other risk factors for both diabetes and obesity. These include things like age, sex, race, as well as controllable factors like drinking alcohol, smoking, being active, daily calorie intake and how often you ate fast food.

It’s not surprise that eating breakfast has an impact for the better on the body. Think about it, regular, predictable eating habits deliver a steady flow of nutrients to body systems. Random eating, or going long stretches without food, not only encourages weight gain, but cause sharp variations in blood sugar that can be troublesome.

Sensible as this may seem, it doesn’t prove that breakfast alone makes the difference. Eating that all-important first meal of the day might be a signal of other healthy habits that could also account for such an association.

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Eat Breakfast, Cut Diabetes AND Obesity Risk… Continued…

We do know that those who eat breakfast tend to make healthier food choices all through the day. When you skip this first meal you’re upping the chances you’ll be ravenous later on, and reach for a quick (though probably not healthy) fix.

As to what breakfast food was the best, the study didn’t mention a standout. The findings of benefits held no matter what the breakfast was, though it’s safe to assume a meal that’s loaded with sugar, added salt or saturated fats isn’t what we’re talking about here.

Try for a first meal that includes a healthy source of protein (low fat meat, dairy or nuts/nut butters, eggs) and lots of fiber from fruits, veggies and whole grains. The good news is that to gain the benefits of eating breakfast the meal doesn’t have to be elaborate to be good for you… a hard boiled egg and piece of whole grain toast and a fruit juice is great, as is cold whole grain cereal, topped by berries and milk. Even breakfast bars (check the label for grams of sugar) can be a convenient, healthy choice.