Thursday, December 27, 2012

Belly Fat: What You May Not Know plus Natural Solutions

There is more to be concerned about with belly fat than just how it looks on you. While it is true that your body needs some fat, it is also true that having too much of the fat we can see often means there is more of the fat we can't see. That is not good news for your health. The fat we can see, subcutaneous fat, accumulates just under the skin usually in the buttocks, hips, thighs, and abdominal areas. There is another kind of fat, visceral fat, that is around your vital organs such as liver, heart, lungs and digestive tract. This fat cushions the organs, but too much of it can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer and other health conditions.

Body Shape
Since the amount of belly fat can be an indication of how much visceral fat you have, take a look at your body shape. Having what is called a "pear" shaped body is better than having what is called an "apple" shape. The apple shape means that you have a bigger waistline with a round belly and the fat has settled there. If you have a pear shape then the fat has settled more in your thigh and buttocks areas. Having more fat in the abdomen area can be an indication of more visceral fat. Genetics can play a role in the propensity to store visceral fat, but physical activity also plays a role. So for those of us that are apple shapes it means it's time to get serious about getting a physical exercise plan going and making changes in the types of foods we eat.

How to Control Belly Fat
Belly fat breaks down into fatty acids, which goes into the liver and muscles. When this happens, more 'bad' cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides result. This causes insulin to be less effective in controlling blood sugar, and results in insulin resistance. Blood sugar then can be out of balance and fat and clots appear in the bloodstream. Watching your intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates is therefore important in your diet. Eliminating processed foods from the diet and moving to eating whole foods, mostly plant based, rich in enzymes and antioxidants, and not overeating can go a long way to controlling belly fat. The main ways to get a grip on your belly fat are through diet, exercise, enough quality sleep and managing stress.

Belly fat is also caused by undigested food sitting there because your body doesn't have enough enzymes to digest it. This can be due to the type of calories we are ingesting, like carbs and fat, or to the way we eat meals. If we allow ourselves to get hungry, our bodies go into starvation mode and hoard the calories. This causes a feeling of being deprived and craving comfort foods which are not usually the healthiest foods. Eating more, smaller meals throughout the day allows us to avoid this state and avoid the cravings for unhealthy foods. A healthy snack alternative for a small meal is a bar fortified with sprouted grains, greens, and blue green algae that provides a complete protein and all essential amino acids source.

Nutritional Support to Control Belly Fat
  • Fiber in the diet helps keep the visceral fat from building up. Proteins and fiber are less likely to be converted to fat storage as the body is able to eliminate any of those it can't digest.
     
  • Avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates or calories that come from fat. Your body can only easily digest a certain amount of carbohydrates before it then converts those carbs to fat to store away.
     
  • Adding a whey protein smoothie drink to your diet gives you a protein alternative as a snack to help you stay away from fatty foods and satisfies hunger to combat overeating.
     
  • Eat more protein and fewer carbs. The kind of protein that you eat can make a difference too. Studies have shown that eating dairy protein can result in loss of belly fat while at the same time gaining muscle. Another source of high quality protein that is just as good or even better than dairy protein is AFA blue green algae. This form of microalgae has 75% usable high quality protein compared to just 18% in red meat!
     
  • Enzymes are required to properly digest food, and when we don't have enough enzymes, the food we eat literally rots in our guts, adding to weight gain and the appearance of a beer belly. 

Enzymes to Control Belly Fat
Cooked foods don't have enzymes because high temperatures literally kill the enzymes naturally found in foods. Canned foods also lack enzymes and often over-stimulate the endocrine system. One study found that laboratory rats fed a diet of processed and enzyme-less protein, fats, and carbohydrates increased their percentage of body fat (V. Korenchevsky, "Pathology and Bacteriology").

Proper diet that has plenty of enzymes plus the raw materials the body needs to stay healthy (vitamins, minerals, trace-minerals, and antioxidants) does more to help weight loss than any diet plan. To practice enzyme therapy for weight loss, you need to start with a high-quality enzyme source  that works well even in the very acidic environment of the stomach.

Water to Control Belly Fat
Another way to fight belly fat is to build lean muscle because muscle burns more calories than fat does and increases your metabolism which in turn burns fat away. One way to increase your metabolism to burn fat is by drinking enough water. Increasing metabolism to burn fat is the job of your liver. The liver however also takes over some of the jobs your kidneys should be doing and can't if the kidneys don't have enough water. That in turns slows the liver down from converting stored fat into energy. The average person needs to drink about 2 quarts of water a day. This of course should not be all at one time, but rather spread out throughout the day so as to not overtax the kidneys.

Belly Fat: The Bottom Line
The amount of belly fat you have can be an indication of the amount of visceral fat you have which can lead to numerous serious health conditions. Losing weight and ridding yourself of the belly fat through diet, sleep, stress management and exercise can lead to not only a better looking and feeling you, but also a healthier you.


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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Did You Know That Lack of Sleep Can Cause Weight Gain? How to Avoid This!

Really, there are studies showing that a lack of sleep or lack of good quality sleep can contribute to weight gain. We live in a society that is increasingly becoming sleep deprived. According to the National Sleep Foundation, Americans getting 8 hours of sleep a night dropped from 35% to 26% in a 7 year period. So what does this lack of sleep have to do with weight gain?

Studies have been done showing a relationship between lack of sleep and increase in weight. There are basically two theories being put forth. One is that a lack of sleep causes you to have less energy to exercise and the second has to do with lack of sleep affecting hormones that control appetite. With these hormones out of whack, you go for high carb, high calorie foods.

Natural Solutions
Here are some suggestions for ways to get good quality sleep and thus keep off the associated weight gain.

  • Cut caffeine out of your diet or at least don't consume caffeine too close to bedtime. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours.
     
  • Avoid alcohol before bedtime. Many people think drinking alcohol makes them sleepy, but it leads to increased waking up during the night and can interfere with the REM cycle causing sleep not to be quality.
     
  • Use your bed only as a sleeping place. Avoid working or eating in bed. Using the bed solely as a place to sleep trains your body to prepare for that activity when going to bed.
     
  • Make the bedroom as dark as possible. Also make it as quiet as you can. You may need to use an eye mask or ear plugs to accomplish this. Some people find using small earphone plugs with meditative music or nature sounds helpful.
     
  • Develop a sleep routine and pattern to get the body trained for when it is time to sleep. Many people don't get the sleep their bodies' need during the work week and then sleep late on the weekends to "catch up" on their sleep. This doesn't really work though for good quality sleep because if you have spent the weekend sleeping late and then have to get up early Monday for work the pattern is thrown off. It is better to set up a routine for every day of the week of going to bed and getting up at the same times.
  • Avoid exercising too close to bedtimes as this causes the body temperature to rise which is not conducive to going to sleep easily. It is better to do your exercise routines in the morning or early in the afternoon.
     
  • Valerian root has been used successfully for some people to get to sleep easier and maintain a restful sleep overnight.
  • Chamomile can also be a useful herb in relaxing the body before going to sleep. Drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bedtime can be part of establishing a nighttime routine and a signal to the body that it is time to start preparing for sleep.
  • Meditation is helpful for some people to relax mind and body. Doing meditation before bedtime not only can help with relaxation, but can also become part of the nighttime routine that signals the body to prepare for sleep.

Increased muscle tension and intrusive thoughts can interfere with sleep. Therefore, it is not surprising that techniques aimed at relaxing muscles (progressive muscle relaxation and biofeedback) and quieting the mind (meditation) have been found to be effective treatments for insomnia. Several studies show that regular meditation practice, either alone or as a part of yoga practice, results in higher blood levels of melatonin, an important regulator of sleep.

The quality of your sleep determines how refreshed you feel when you wake up in the morning, and how much energy you have during the day. Adding some probiotics, enzymes and blue green algae to your nightly regimen can really help you recharge while you sleep. Here's how they work to help your sleep.

Blue green algae:
Can support relaxation in the brain and allow you to get a peaceful night's rest. Take 1-2 capsules before bed.

Bifidus:
Bifidus is an important part of early childhood development, and strongly affects our self-esteem, confidence and sense of wholeness. Adding 2-4 bifidus capsules to your evening regimen can help you wake rested, confident and ready to charge into your day!

Enzymes:
While digestive enzymes certainly help us digest our food, on a metaphysical level, they can also help us digest and "work through" the knotty problems of the day. If you're facing a difficult situation or problem and need some solutions, take 2-4 enzymes before bed. Chances are that you will awaken with the needed solution!


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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Need Healing? Thoughts and Natural Solutions

No matter how chronic or acute a condition is, it can be healed. There is always, always hope. If you're not dead yet, you're not dead yet. Whatever condition you suffer with and need healing for, make a resolution for the coming year to find three (the number of change) things that make you feel good. Then make the commitment to stick with them for the entire year. Doing this will make you an active participant in your own wellness program instead of a victim to your condition. That is an important distinction because we attract the same vibrations that we put out. Putting out positive energy attracts more positive energy whereas putting out victim energy attracts more victim energy. You may have to try several different things before settling on the 3 you will use in your recovery program towards achieving real health. You might explore different types of meditation, flower essences, herbs, supplements, lifestyle or diet changes, or various exercise programs.

Only you know what makes you feel good and what doesn't. If drinking plenty of water, taking certain supplements, or eating multiple small meals a day makes you feel better, then you are the only one that can know it. Similarly, you probably know which of your "bad" habits make you feel ill, like eating too much sugar or spending too much time at your desk. If you are not sure what makes you feel better or worse, keep a diary for seven to twenty-one days. Log your daily food intake, exercise, level of stress, amount of sleep, and anything else that might affect your level of health. Notice what happens when you add or vary any of your habits. Look at your diary to help you decide on the 3 changes you will make for this year. After you have picked your 3 changes, make the commitment to stick with them for the entire year.

Why stick with these changes for a year? Because if you have had your condition for any length of time, it takes at least one month of wellness for every year you have had your condition. So for example if you have had migraines for five years, you'll need at least 5 months of being on your recovery program, once you have one, to see improvement. Notice that the clock that counts the months toward recovery only starts ticking when you find a wellness regimen that works for you. This only works once you create a wellness program that works for you and that you can stick to. The three things you come up with for this year may be your wellness program or it may only be a beginning. There may be more to discover in settling on a complete wellness program that works for you and your condition.

Here are a few natural solutions for healthy living that may give you a place to start:

>> Drink lots of water. Every part of your body needs water. Water helps your body flush out anything unwanted, like toxins and viruses that might make you sick. If drinking straight water doesn't sound good to you, try adding a little salt or lime to you water. Both salt and lime improve the taste of water, and a slice of lime tends to remove any chlorine that might be in your water. You can also try brewing some tea or just drinking warm water with honey and lemon.

>>Take digestive enzymes. Especially now during the holiday season with lots of holiday meals (and sweets), office parties, neighborhood potlucks, and Christmas parties indigestion is a big possibility. Enzymes help you digest your food, especially if you overeat or gorge on junk food. Take 2 enzymes before each meal and take 2 more after the meal if you feel overstuffed. You can also take enzymes anytime you have digestive discomfort.

>>Defend your health by adding probiotics to your daily regimen. The probiotics acidophilus and bifidus are the "friendly" bacteria that live in your gut and are your first line of defense against a variety of illnesses including colds and flus. Probiotics keep you healthy rather than curing you after you are already sick. It sounds like that old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," doesn't it?

>>Get up and stretch. Did you know that one of the major causes of tiredness is muscle tension and fatigue? It's true. Tight muscles that haven't been stretched out can make you feel tired before you even begin your day. At the end of your day, those same tight muscles can make a long day seem endless. So what can you do to prevent muscle fatigue? Stretch your body! Doing just 15-20 minutes of light yoga or stretching in the morning can drastically improve the oxygenation in your body as well as your overall physical stamina. Stretching is a simple investment in your health that will pay off immediately.

The new year is quickly approaching. Get started now on picking your 3 changes for the year and make this the year you create real change for healthy living.


If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products at wholesale prices on our website.