→  Getting the Right Amount of Nightly Sleep

So you regularly get 8 hours of sleep every night but you still feel tired during the day. What’s the deal? For starters, the 8 hour sleep guideline is just that—a guideline.

Yes, the 8 hours of sleep standard has been routinely researched to be the number of hours of sleep that most people need. However, it doesn’t always work for everybody, and you may need to adjust it a little to get it right for you.

 

→  Fine-tune your body’s clock

Too much sleep can be just as bad as too little sleep. It’s important to dial in your personal body clock so that you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day, everyday.

To do this, figure out what time you need to get up in the morning.

Count back 7.5 hours as a good time to start getting to bed.

7.5 hours is a good benchmark because the average person goes through five 90 minute sleep cycles alternating between sleep (non-REM) and deep sleep (REM).

It’s best to wake in-between deep sleep cycles rather than in the middle of one. Waking in the middle of REM can lead you to feeling groggy during the day. If you wake during non-REM you’re more likely to feel alert and attentive as the day progresses.

Try this 7.5 hours sleep duration for 3 days. If you find yourself waking about 10 minutes before your alarm goes off, you’ve found your perfect bedtime. If however you’re still relying on your alarm clock to wake you up, try moving your bedtime back 15 minutes every 3 days until you find yourself waking just a few minutes before your alarm goes off.

Once you find your body’s perfect internal sleep-clock, stay consistent with it. The less you vary from the norm, the more alert you will be during the day and the better you will function.

 

→  Practice better sleep habits

If you find yourself having difficulty getting to bed on time every night, there are a few things you can do to help you get to bed quicker:

  • Ditch your electronics. This may be the simplest yet hardest habit to break. The artificial light emitting from your cellphone, tablet, laptop, television set, e-reader, portable game console, etc, tricks your brain into believing it needs to stay awake because it associates light with daytime. This deception can disrupt your circadian rhythm, which in turn leads to poorer sleep at night and feeling rundown during the day.
  • Keep your room dark and quiet. Ditching those electronics may not be enough to create the ideal sleeping quarters. If possible, turn off all lights. If this is not possible, leave one dim light on or use a nightlight.
  • Try using “white noise.” Listening to music to help you get to bed may work for you, but it’s also likely to disrupt your sleep, causing more problems than it solves. If you must listen to music, try setting it on a timer that will shut it off shortly after you fall asleep. A better option is to listen to white noise while you sleep. White noise from a fan or a sound-machine creates a consistent rhythmic sound that can be both relaxing and help drown out other sudden noises that may cause you to wake at night.
  • Avoid caffeine before bed. This one should be a no-brainer, but many people have a hard time resisting caffeinated beverages before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant and will increase alertness at that crucial time when your body wants to wind down. If you are a habitual caffeine user, try avoiding using caffeine three hours before bedtime to help get you to sleep on time.

 

→  A Healthier Lifestyle Leads to Healthier Sleep

Diet and exercise can go a long way towards getting better rest at night and being more alert during the day. Balancing healthy eating choices with routine exercise can dramatically affect the way you perform throughout the day.

Foods to Avoid to Improve Sleep

  • Foods high in sugar and caffeine can have a temporary energy-boosting effect on the mind and body’s alertness, but is often followed by a crashing feeling that can last much longer than the short energy-surge you were after.
  • Fatty foods and processed carbs have also been associated with daytime sleepiness. These foods may fill you up but they’re not loaded with the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to produce ample amounts of energy.
  • Spicy foods close to bedtime. Spicy foods are notorious for causing heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux. Heartburn can be made worse while lying down as it allows the acids to creep up into the esophagus and burn the sensitive lining.

 

→  Increase Quality Sleep with Healthy Choices

  • Eat more healthy foods. Eating more foods that naturally boost your daily energy levels can go a long way in helping you feel more alert everyday. Eat more natural, unprocessed carbs. Eat foods that are rich in antioxidants, amino acids, proteins and high in vitamins. A short list of high energy foods would be: leafy greens, whole grains, tree nuts, lean meats, eggs, fruits (especially apples, bananas, and blueberries), and bell peppers just to name a few.
  • Exercise more. Routine exercise can go a long way in curing your daytime fatigue. Exercise breeds energy. It is recommended that you exercise at least 40 minutes a day, 4 days a week. Aside from the energy boost you’ll experience, exercise also releases endorphins which will leave you simply “feeling good” about yourself.

 

→  Poor sleep could be a sign of a sleep disorder

If you practice the above guidelines of a healthier lifestyle and better sleeping habits but still find yourself suffering from daytime drowsiness, it may be a sign of a more severe medical condition such as: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA),anemia, thyroid problems, narcolepsy, depression, restless leg syndrome, undiagnosed heart disease, or deficiencies in key nutrients. If you think that you may be suffering from one of these medical conditions you should contact your physician or local sleep clinic immediately.

 

 

Originally posted at http://www.alaskasleep.com/

 


What Causes Knee Soreness after Working Out?

by RACHEL NALL

You rely on your knees to support your movements during a workout. When you experience pain after exercising, you may be concerned that an underlying condition exists. Understanding why you experience knee pain after you exercise can be a matter of evaluating the types of exercises you are performing and the location of your pain. Learning when you can continue exercising with knee pain — and when you cannot — is important to your continued good health.

Post-Exercise Treatment

If you experience knee pain after exercising, take immediate steps to reduce inflammation. This includes icing your knee within 10 to 20 minutes after your workout. You also may wish to take an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. Evaluate your footwear as well: lack of support, particularly arch support, often contributes to knee pain. Your physician or a shoe specialist can evaluate your shoes to ensure they are in good enough shape to continue exercising. If your knees continue to swell or the pain gets worse instead of better, you may need to take a few days from exercising and seek medical attention.

Impact Exercises

Your knees are the major shock absorbers of your body, absorbing the impact each time you take a step. If you participate in high-impact activities like running, volleyball or basketball, you are at increased risk for experiencing knee pain after exercising. If you experience pain in both knees after high-impact exercise, this may be a sign you need to alternate high- and low-impact activities. These include activities like exercising on an elliptical machine or swimming, which puts less strain on your knees. Incorporating these activities into your workout routine may help to take the pressure off your knees.

Strengthening Exercises

If a physician has evaluated your knee and determined you have not experienced a serious injury, you may wish to engage in some knee-strengthening exercises to reduce pain and restore stability to your knee. Examples of exercises include sitting with your legs extended and slowly lifting your leg about 6 to 8 inches off the ground. Repeat five to 10 times on each leg. From a seated position with your legs extended, you also can cross one leg over the other to stretch the outer portion of the knee. Hold for five seconds, then release the stretch and repeat on the opposite side. Your physician also may recommend alternate stretches to relieve tension in your knee.

Injuries

There are a number of bones, tendons and muscles related to the knee, providing ample opportunity for injury. You may experience conditions like runner’s knee, which causes pain behind the kneecap, and iliotibial band syndrome, which causes pain outside the knee. Both injury and overuse can cause you to experience knee pain. If your knee pain does not subside with rest, see your physician, who can evaluate your knee for potential injury. Knee pain does not always mean surgery — your physician can recommend several conservative approaches to treat pain.

Article Source: http://www.livestrong.com/


Try these basic yoga poses to get stronger and more flexible.

Mountain Pose

  • Stand tall with feet together, shoulders relaxed, weight evenly distributed through your soles, arms at sides.
  • Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with arms straight. Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips.

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 1. Pick up a pen

Mindlessly munching on a bag of chips could result in easily polishing off the whole thing; write down how much you’ve eaten and you’re more likely to practice portion control and lose weight fast. Keeping a food log helps control extra calories in two ways: the combination of plain old reality check (I just ate 30 minutes ago!) and awareness that what you’re putting in your mouth will soon be recorded for posterity. In a recent study, people who kept a food journal lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t. When they combined it with a moderate diet and exercise plan, they lost an average of 13 pounds in 6 months. Journaling also gives you insight on your eating habits, says Dr. Lutes. Do you skip meals? Eat the same during the week as on the weekend? Binge when you’re feeling stressed? “Knowing your routine helps you figure out what changes are right for you,” she adds.

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When eating out at a restaurant, navigate the danger zones, eat what you love, and stay at a healthy weight with this menu guide and calorie chart from FITNESS.

 

Dining Out

Going out to dinner tonight? You’ve got plenty of company. Almost 75 percent of us eat at a restaurant at least once a week, and 25 percent dine out every two or three days, according to a study by the USDA. And hey, why not? Letting someone else cook is relaxing — the perfect treat after a busy day. Trouble is, a recent study at the University of Texas found that female dieters consume an extra 253 calories and 16 fat grams on the days that they eat at restaurants. Portion sizes have ballooned in recent years — and most of us tend to polish off every bite. Research by FITNESS advisory board member Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York, and author of Mindless Eating, shows that we keep nibbling until our plates are empty rather than waiting for our bodies to signal that we’re full, no matter how big the serving size.

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PROTEIN

WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED IT

Protein is the major structural and functional component of all cells in your body. Proteins literally play a necessary role in many of the biological processes that allow you to live and function. Not to mention, about 25 percent of your muscle mass is made up of protein—and the rest is made up of water and glycogen (your body’s stored form of carbohydrates). So it’s no wonder why so many diets place a heavy emphasis on protein. But the reason you need to eat so much is simple: Unlike other nutrients, your body can not assemble protein by combining other nutrients, so enough must be consumed in your daily meals in order to achieve your desired health and appearance.

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Do You Have a Hormone Imbalance?

 

Your Hormones, Your Health

Feeling bloated, irritable, or just not your best? A hormone imbalance could be to blame. Hormones are chemical “messengers” that impact the way your cells and organs function. It’s normal for your levels to shift at different times of your life, such as before and during your period or a pregnancy, or during menopause. But some medications and health issues can cause them to go up or down, too.

Irregular Periods

Most women’s periods come every 21 to 35 days. If yours doesn’t arrive around the same time every month, or you skip some months, it might mean that you have too much or too little of certain hormones (estrogen and progesterone). If you’re in your 40s or early 50s — the reason can be perimenopause — the time before menopause. But irregular periods can be a symptom of health problems like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Talk to your doctor.

Sleep Problems

If you aren’t getting enough shut-eye, or if the sleep you get isn’t good, your hormones could be at play. Progesterone, a hormone released by your ovaries, helps you catch Zzz’s. If your levels are lower than usual, that can make it hard to fall and stay asleep. Low estrogen can trigger hot flashes and night sweats, both of which can make it tough to get the rest you need.

Chronic Acne

A breakout before or during your period is normal. But acne that won’t clear up can be a symptom of hormone problems. An excess of androgens (“male” hormones that both men and women have) can cause your oil glands to overwork. Androgens also affect the skin cells in and around your hair follicles. Both of those things can clog your pores and cause acne.

Memory Fog

Experts aren’t sure exactly how hormones impact your brain. What they do know is that changes in estrogen and progesterone can make your head feel “foggy” and make it harder for you to remember things. Some experts think estrogen might impact brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Attention and memory problems are especially common during perimenopause and menopause. But they can also be a symptom of other hormone-related conditions, like thyroid disease. Let your doctor know if you’re having trouble thinking clearly.

Belly Problems

Your gut is lined with tiny cells called receptors that respond to estrogen and progesterone. When these hormones are higher or lower than usual, you might notice changes in how you’re digesting food. That’s why diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, and nausea can crop up or get worse before and during your period. If you’re having digestive woes as well as issues like acne and fatigue, your hormone levels might be off.

Ongoing Fatigue

Are you tired all the time? Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of a hormone imbalance. Excess progesterone can make you sleepy. And if your thyroid — the butterfly-shaped gland in your neck — makes too little thyroid hormone, it can sap your energy. A simple blood test called a thyroid panel can tell you if your levels are too low. If they are, you can get treated for that.

Mood Swings and Depression

Researchers think drops in hormones or fast changes in their levels can cause moodiness and the blues. Estrogen affects key brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. But other hormones, that travel the same paths as neurotransmitters, also play a part in how you feel.

Appetite and Weight Gain

When you’re feeling blue or irritated, as you can be when your estrogen levels dip, you may want to eat more. That might be why drops in the hormone are linked to weight gain. The estrogen dip can also impact your body’s levels of leptin, a hunger-revving hormone.

Headaches

Lots of things can trigger these. But for some women, drops in estrogen bring them on. That’s why it’s common for headaches to strike right before or during your period, when estrogen is on the decline. Regular headaches or ones that often surface around the same time each month can be a clue that your levels of this hormone might be shifting.

Vaginal Dryness

It’s normal to have this occasionally. But if you often notice that you’re dry or irritated down there, low estrogen may be the reason. The hormone helps vaginal tissue stay moist and comfortable. If your estrogen drops because of an imbalance, it can reduce vaginal fluids and cause tightness.

Loss of Libido

Most people think of testosterone as a male hormone, but women’s bodies make it, too. If your testosterone levels are lower than usual, you might have less of an interest in sex than you usually do.

Breast Changes

A drop in estrogen can make your breast tissue less dense. And an increase in the hormone can thicken this tissue, even causing new lumps or cysts. Talk to your doctor if you notice breast changes, even if you don’t have any other symptoms that concern you.

 

 

5 Natural Ways to Balance Your Hormones

Many of my patients have found that certain lifestyle changes and simple techniques such as the ones below have allowed them to balance their hormones and reclaim health.

  1. Eat your broccoli. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kohlrabi contain a substance called indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is metabolized in the body to produce diindolylmethane (DIM). Both of these substances help modulate estrogens and have been shown to have some anti-cancer effects, particularly for breast cancer.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight. Excessive adipose (fat) tissue can act as an endocrine organ, producing more estrogen in the body. By maintaining a healthy weight, your body is not stimulated to overproduce certain hormones.
  3. Include phytoestrogens in your diet. Found in soy foods, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, bean sprouts, and legumes such as garbanzo beans and peas, phytoestrogens are plant-based substances that can help balance your hormones naturally.

Although there has been some controversy in the media over the consumption of soy, I do not know of any scientific studies showing that eating soy-containing foods is harmful. My view is that consuming small amounts of soy in the diet can be beneficial. However, I would advise against taking phytoestrogens such as soy as supplements as we do not know enough about the effects of taking these compounds in high doses. Also, I caution against eating processed soy products and soy additives in many foods, but instead encourage the use of traditional soy foods such as tofu, edamame, tempeh, miso, and soy sauce.  Make sure they are organic and non-GMO.

If you have known thyroid disease, I would also caution against eating foods that contain phytoestrogens raw as goitrogens in these foods may interfere with thyroid function. Cooking does neutralize this effect, but avoid consumption within two hours of taking any thyroid medication.

  1. Consider the use of herbal remedies. In my practice, the Ayurvedic herb shatavari has been useful for both menopausal hot flashes and PMS associated with irritability and mood swings. Other herbal remedies have also proven helpful for both physical and psychological symptoms. As each individual is different, always speak with a trained practitioner before using herbal remedies.
  2. Breathe deeply. Doing fifteen  minutes of deep belly breathing twice daily has been shown in several clinical trials to decrease hot flashes and night sweats as well as improve a woman’s sense of well-being. In addition, I encourage women (and men) to learn a mind-quieting technique such as Primordial Sound Meditation, which helps decrease stress hormones and allows the body to function more efficiently.

Addressing lifestyle including diet, physical activity and stress management as well as gaining support from practitioners and loved ones is an excellent start.  In addition to helping with hormonal balance, these mind-body techniques to bring about balance create a greater sense of well being and ultimately optimum health.

Schedule your visit today at Optimal Weight Control & Wellness Center, a medically supervised program designed to cater patients who have excess body fat induced by imbalance hormones.

 

Article References: http://www.webmd.com/

 


1 . Slim Down Detox Water

Two hours before drinking, combine grapefruit, lemon, lime and cucumbers into a pitcher. The drink only takes 10 minutes to prepare and yields 8 servings of this diuretic dream, which guarantees that all moisture will be rapidly flushed from the system.

The fat-burning enzymes of grapefruit plus the healing properties of citrus that calm the internal digestive tract leave you with an all-around healthy detox.

2. Cucumber Detox

Cucumbers promote a state of physiological purification and also make for an extra refreshing drink – perfect for the warmer months! Combine all your ingredients in a mason jar and let the mixture sit for five minutes before drinking.

3. Lemon Ginger Detox

While lemon is known to promote healthy digestion, this drink becomes a digestive wonder when ginger is added. Special compounds in ginger called shogaols combat nausea and promote healthy intestinal wellness, even battling cancer in the internal organs.

 

4. Blueberry Orange Detox

Packed with antioxidants, Vitamin C and fiber, this delicious drink is perfect to eradicate free radicals and ulcers in the body.

5. Watermelon Detox

You’re about to love watermelon even more. Watermelon contain lycopene, which acts as a strong antioxidant and is known to foster anti-inflammatory effects. Amino acids are also provided to aid in blood flow and cardiovascular well-being, making this the perfect drink for fitness lovers!

6. Pineapple Detox

Combine 2 sticks of sugar cane and 5 chunks of pineapple into 2 liters of water for this sweet detox. Pineapples are meant to enhance meditative properties, assisting in the expel of toxins.

7. Raspberry Mint Detox

Not only does this drink sound delicious, but it has a double-whammy of health benefits. While the raspberry kicks out unwanted agents in the body, the mint cleanses and clears the stomach, making weight loss easy and painless. Plus…this sweet treat has essentially no calories and an extremely addictive flavor.

8. Fat Burning Apple Detox

Struggling with unwanted fat? This is the detox for you! Apple cider vinegar is the main ingredient here, helping you stay full and focused, while the added cinnamon boosts your metabolism and makes it impossible for excess fat to accumulate.

9. Aloe Detox

Sounds weird…aloe is a plant, right? Yes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat it! Extract the aloe from the plant  leaves and combine the ooze into a lemon water drink. The result? An energy boosting drink that heals the body from the inside out. (Note: pregnant women are not advised to ingest aloe…but to the rest of you, aloe on.)

10. Strawberry Detox

For fans of all things strawberries, this detox drink is for you. A naturally sweet drink, strawberries provide you with organic, all-day energy and trick your brain into thinking you’re having an indulgent dessert!

11. Blueberry Lavender Detox

Again…drinking a plant? Absolutely! While enjoying the physical benefits of blueberries, your mind enjoys clarity and energy with robust sprigs of lavender in your drink.

12. Soda Detox

You love soda, but you know it’s the not the best thing for you. A compromise? This detox soda water, which combines sparkling water (or seltzer), apple cider vinegar and the citrus of your choice, is the perfect soda substitute.

13. Iced Green Tea Detox

These Chinese tea leaves have the best antioxidants, kicking out poisonous toxins and providing a healthy dose of caffeine for metabolism-boosting weight loss.

14. Belly Slimming Detox

Speeding up digestion with strawberries and curbing your appetite with basil, this drink is the best route to a tight tummy. Plus, the cucumber has properties to give you glowing, lovely skin!

15. Strawberry Lemon Detox

Yum, strawberry lemonade. Opt for this healthy version by using natural fruits and none of the pesky sugar.

16. Stress Relieving Detox

The holidays might be over…but that doesn’t mean your stress is. Take a deep breathe and chug this calming detox, guaranteed to calm the body and reduce stress levels with Vitamins A, E, C and K.

17. Strawberry Kiwi Detox

Strawberry kiwi, a classic combination. But little did you know that kiwi also kicks butt for your health, too! With tons of dietary fiber and Vitamin C, this exotic fruit removes excess salt from the body, getting rid of a huge health hazard.

18. Blackberry Sage Detox

Sage calms the tummy while blackberries bring the Vitamin A and C to the party. This combination has been found to help post-menopausal women and survivors of breast cancer recovering from chemotherapy.

19. Cinnamon Detox

This Dr. Oz recipe uses cinnamon to really kick your metabolism into overdrive! Look at this way, the faster your metabolism, the faster you burn pesky fat.

20. Orange, Blueberry and Lavender Detox

Besides having a delicious combination of ingredients, this drink packs so much punch with antioxidants and vitamins that you’ll have energy to last you through your whole work day!

21. Detox Punch

If you’re sick of boring old water, try this flavorful juice detox! This drink has all the health benefits and double the delicious taste.

22. Vegan Strawberry Lemonade Detox

This detox drink has all the benefits of strawberry and lemon but with even less sugar! It’s also friendly for all our vegan friends out there!

 

 

Article Reference: www.tiphero.com


 

Pesce, the Italian word for fish, is being associated with people who add aquatic animals to a vegetarian diet. Pescetarians (sometimes called pesco-vegetarians) eat freshwater and saltwater fish and shellfish in addition to the fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, eggs, and dairy vegetarians typically consume.

While it isn’t known how many people follow a pescetarian eating pattern, interest in the impact this diet has on its followers appears to be rising. The combination of the known benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle with the proven health effects of omega-3-fatty-acid-rich fish makes pescetarianism a potentially powerful ally in the interplay between nutrition and long-term health.

Who Are Pescetarians?
“Pescetarians are a diverse group,” says Debra King, MS, RDN, LD, FAND, CEO of Crown Consulting and Web editor for Vegetarian Nutrition. “In my experience, they’re usually very health-conscious individuals. They’re looking to take control of their health through the food choices they make.” For some, pescetarianism may be a stepping stone on the way to true vegetarianism, or a compromise for vegetarians who feel the need to add a protein source readily available in business or social settings.

“People who have health problems or want to lose weight may try pescetarianism,” says Janis Jibrin, MS, RD, author of The Pescetarian Plan. “They’ve read about the detrimental health effects of red meat and the benefits of plant-based diets and omega-3 fatty acids in fish, and are looking for a convenient and doable way to make healthful choices.”

Components of the Diet
“The pescetarian diet is similar to the traditional Mediterranean diet: plant-based, with fish serving as the primary animal protein,” says Sharon Palmer, RDN, nutrition editor of Today’s Dietitian and author of Plant-Powered for Life. Like a Mediterranean eating pattern, a healthful pescetarian diet is loaded with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. “It can be Mediterranean-style,” Jibrin says, “but one could just as easily have a Nordic- or Japanese-based pescetarian diet. It’s an extremely flexible way to eat. Also, most pescetarians, like vegetarians, include both dairy and eggs in their diets.”

Health Benefits
“There’s definitely evidence that a dietary pattern like this favorably impacts chronic disease,” Kris-Etherton says. In 2013, an analysis of the Adventist Health Study-2 reported that the mortality rate was lower among pescetarians when compared with nonvegetarians.1

“In addition, the study found that pescetarians had lower levels of blood cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as [decreased] risk of diabetes, blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome compared with nonvegetarians,” Palmer says. “They even have a lower carbon footprint.”

While few studies look specifically at pescetarianism, Jibrin says there are “boatloads of relevant studies” on the similar Mediterranean diet, vegetarianism, and the benefits of eating fish. “Lower risk of heart disease, less dementia and depression, smarter kids, lower rates of type 2 diabetes and cancer—the potential benefits are truly impressive,” Jibrin says.

 

One of the key health-promoting components of a pescetarian diet is the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish (particularly fatty fish). “There are many good epidemiologic studies showing that higher consumption of fish and omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a lower risk of heart disease,” Kris-Etherton says.

“Collectively, the evidence to date strongly suggests benefits of fish/seafood and marine omega-3 fatty acids for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.” Data from the Cardiovascular Health Study indicated that in older adults, higher dietary intake of DHA and EPA (the long-chain fatty acids found in fish) may lower the risk of fatal heart attacks, and that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood are associated with a lower incidence of congestive heart failure.2,3 “Some recent controlled clinical trials in patients with heart disease haven’t demonstrated a beneficial effect of fish oil,” Kris-Etherton notes. “For secondary prevention in coronary patients, modern pharmacotherapy appears to be of greater benefit over marine omega-3 fatty acids.”

Other research shows that eating fish may be good for the brain as well as the heart. “A long-term study in the UK [indicated] that children born to women who ate at least 12 oz of fish per week during pregnancy had higher IQs and better social, fine motor, and communication skills than kids whose moms ate fewer than 12 oz, and a study by Chicago’s Rush Institute for Healthy Aging found that over a four-year period, Chicagoans aged 65 to 94 who had at least one fish meal per week had a 60% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared with those who rarely or never ate fish,” Jibrin says.

“It’s not just the presence of fish. It’s the presence of all those plant foods, too,” Palmer says. “This is a huge aspect of the health benefits seen in this diet style.” In a 2009 study, Fraser and colleagues concluded, “There is convincing evidence that vegetarians have lower rates of coronary heart disease, largely explained by low LDL cholesterol, probable lower rates of hypertension and diabetes mellitus, and lower prevalence of obesity. Overall, their cancer rates appear to be moderately lower than others living in the same communities, and life expectancy appears to be greater.”4 A study on the effects of a vegetarian diet on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes concluded that all variants of plant-based diets, including pescetarian, were associated with a substantially lower risk of type 2 diabetes and lower BMI than nonvegetarian diets.5 “It makes sense,” Palmer says. “As you increase your intake of plant foods, decrease your intake of red and processed meats, and prioritize fish—animal foods that contain better fat profiles and omega-3s—you’re likely to improve your overall health.”

Too Much Fish?
The presence of mercury and other toxins in fish, combined with environmental and sustainability concerns, raises questions about the viability of a fish-and-seafood-based diet. “Some studies have shown that the benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks related to mercury,” Palmer says. “Generally, the larger and more predatory the fish, the higher the mercury. I think dietitians can educate consumers to eat lower on the food chain when it comes to fish.” The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults eat 8 oz or more of seafood per week. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should aim for 8 oz to 12 oz of a variety of seafood, but should limit albacore tuna to 6 oz per week, and avoid tilefish, swordfish, shark, and King mackerel due to their high mercury content. The guidelines specifically recommend salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel (not King mackerel) as choices higher in EPA and DHA and lower in mercury.6 These guidelines can fit well with a pescetarian eating pattern. “It’s important to remember that a pescetarian diet doesn’t mean that one should eat fish three times a day,” Palmer says. “It’s a vegetarian diet that includes fish. So that means lots of meals that are based on plant proteins, too—beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds.”

When advocating for an increase in seafood intake, it’s essential to consider sustainability. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, overfishing, lack of effective management, and consumption habits all have contributed to a serious decline in wild fish. Seafoodwatch.org states that “Some 90% of the world’s fisheries are either fully fished or in decline.”7 “More and more experts and organizations, including Monterey Bay Aquarium and World Wildlife Fund, are indicating that sustainably farmed seafood has a role,” Palmer says. “Dietitians need to help their patients not only find good, safe sources of fish, but also help clients prioritize sustainable choices.” (See “Eating Seafood Sustainably” in Today’s Dietitian‘s June 2012 issue.)

Helping Clients Make the Switch
Jibrin recommends a pescetarian diet to clients who are interested in trying a more plant-based diet but aren’t ready to become vegetarian or vegan. “It’s a compromise that doesn’t compromise their health,” Jibrin says. According to Palmer, pescetarianism is a simple transition into a more plant-based lifestyle. “In my experience, I see many people who like to make small incremental changes in their diet and lifestyle, such as giving up red meat, doing Meatless Monday, or becoming pescetarian. They may find that as they try these lifestyle changes, they’re ready to embrace even more plant-based meals during the week.”

Variety is important in any diet, and so is overall diet quality, King says. While the components of a pescetarian eating plan are healthful, King says that eating fish seven days per week, consuming uncontrolled portions, and munching on deep-fried fish sticks still aren’t good choices. “I think it’s important to educate clients that a pescetarian diet does not mean they must eat fish at every meal,” Palmer says. “It means that a person enjoys lots of plant-based meals—vegetarian lasagna, veggie chili with cornbread, tofu vegetable stir-fry with brown rice—in addition to a few meals during the week based on fish.”

Many health-conscious Americans are looking for a dietary pattern that will give them the maximum proven nutritional benefit with the minimum sacrifice and inconvenience. With its focus on plant-based foods, pescetarianism delivers a powerful portion of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber, and healthful fats. Adding fish and other seafood not only boosts intake of heart-healthy long-chain omega-3 fatty acids but also increases the variety of available lean proteins. Some guidance on how to build plant-based meals and choose sustainable, low-mercury fish can ease clients’ transition to delicious, nutritious, health-promoting pescetarianism.

— Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN, is a freelance nutrition writer, a community educator, and the principal of JTRD Nutrition Education Services.

 

Sample Pescetarian Diet 1200 Calorie Meal Plan


Breakfast – Oatmeal and Eggs – 254 calories

1 packet high fiber oatmeal
2 hard boiled egg whites
1 cup or piece of fruit


Lunch – Tuna Sandwich – 350 calories

2 slices 100% whole wheat light bread
Tuna fish (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon light mayo
Light string cheese
1/2 cup baby carrots


Snack – Cheese and Crackers – 125 calories

Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge
19 Special K Crackers


Dinner – Tofu and Broccoli over Pasta – 435 calories

Tofu and Broccoli
3 ounces firm tofu & 1/2 cup broccoli
1 cup whole wheat pasta
Garden salad
2 tablespoon light balsamic


Dessert – No Sugar Added Fudgsicle – 40 calories

No Sugar Added Fudgsicle

Sample Pescetarian Diet 1500 Calorie Meal Plan


Breakfast – Oatmeal and Eggs – 394 calories

1 packet high fiber oatmeal
2 hard boiled egg whites
1/4 cup nuts


Snack AM – Fruit – 60 calories

1 cup cut fruit or 1 piece of fruit


Lunch – Tuna Sandwich – 350 calories

2 slices 100% whole wheat light bread
Tuna fish (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon light mayo
Light string cheese
1/2 cup baby carrots


Snack – Cheese and Crackers – 125 calories

Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge
19 Special K Crackers


Dinner – Tofu and Broccoli Over Pasta – 475 calories

Tofu and Broccoli
4 ounces firm tofu & 1/2 cup broccoli
1 cup whole wheat pasta
2 cups garden salad
2 tablespoons light balsamic


Dessert – Popcorn – 100 calories

1 mini bag microwave popcorn

 

 

 

 

 

Article originally posted at http://www.todaysdietitian.com/


There are many different weight loss solutions out there. This includes all sorts of pills, drugs and natural supplements.

These are claimed to help you lose weight, or at least make it easier to lose weight combined with other methods.

They tend to work via one or more of these mechanisms:

  1. Reduce appetite, making you feel more full so that you eat fewer calories.
  2. Reduce absorption of nutrients like fat, making you take in fewer calories.
  3. Increase fat burning, making you burn more calories.

Here are the 12 most popular weight loss pills and supplements, reviewed by science.

1. Garcinia Cambogia Extract

 

Garcinia cambogia became popular worldwide after being featured on the Dr. Oz show in 2012.

It is a small, green fruit, shaped like a pumpkin.

The skin of the fruit contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This is the active ingredient in garcinia cambogia extract, which is marketed as a diet pill.

How it works: Animal studies show that it can inhibit a fat-producing enzyme in the body and increase levels of serotonin, potentially helping to reduce cravings.

Effectiveness: A 2011 review that looked at 12 studies on garcinia cambogia found that, on average, it caused weight loss of about 2 pounds (0.88 kg) over several weeks.

Side effects: There are no reports of serious side effects, but some reports of mild digestive problems.

2. Hydroxycut

 

Hydroxycut has been around for more than a decade, and is currently one of the most popular weight loss supplements in the world.

There are several different types, but the most common one is simply called “Hydroxycut.”

How it works: It contains several ingredients that are claimed to help with weight loss, including caffeine and a few plant extracts.

Effectiveness: One study showed that it caused 21 lbs (9.5 kg) of weight loss over a 3 month period.

Side effects: If you are caffeine sensitive, you may experience anxiety, jitteriness, tremors, nausea, diarrhea and irritability.

3. Caffeine

Caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.

It is found naturally in coffee, green tea and dark chocolate, and added to many processed foods and beverages.

Caffeine is a well known metabolism booster, and is often added to commercial weight loss supplements.

How it works: Short-term studies have shown that caffeine can boost metabolism by 3-11%, and increase fat burning by up to 29%.

Effectiveness: There are also some studies showing that caffeine can cause modest weight loss in humans.

Side effects: In some people, high amounts of caffeine can cause anxiety, insomnia, jitteriness, irritability, nausea, diarrhea and other symptoms. Caffeine is also addictive and can reduce the quality of your sleep.

There really is no need to take a supplement or a pill with caffeine in it, the best sources are quality coffee and green tea, which also have antioxidants and other health benefits.

4. Orlistat (Alli)

 

Orlistat is a pharmaceutical drug, sold over-the-counter under the name Alli, and under prescription as Xenical.

How it works: This weight loss pill works by inhibiting the breakdown of fat in the gut, making you take in fewer calories from fat.

Effectiveness: According to a big review of 11 studies, orlistat can increase weight loss by 6 pounds (2.7 kg) compared to a dummy pill.

Other benefits: Orlistat has been shown to reduce blood pressure slightly, and reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 37% in one study.

Side effects: This drug has many digestive side effects, including loose, oily stools, flatulence, frequent bowel movements that are hard to control, and others. It may also contribute to deficiency in fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E and K.

It is usually recommended to follow a low-fat diet while taking orlistat, in order to minimize side effects.

Interestingly, a low carb diet (without drugs) has been shown to be as effective as both orlistat and a low-fat diet combined.

5. Raspberry Ketones

 

Raspberry ketone is a substance found in raspberries, which is responsible for their distinct smell.

A synthetic version of raspberry ketones is sold as a weight loss supplement.

How it works: In isolated fat cells from rats, raspberry ketones increase breakdown of fat and increase levels of a hormone called adiponectin, believed to be related to weight loss.

Effectiveness: There is not a single study on raspberry ketones in humans, but one rat study using massive doses showed that they reduced weight gain.

Side effects: They may cause your burps to smell like raspberries.

6. Green Coffee Bean Extract

 

Green coffee beans are simply normal coffee beans that haven’t been roasted.

They contain two substances believed to help with weight loss, caffeine and chlorogenic acid.

How it works: Caffeine can increase fat burning, and chlorogenic acid can slow the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gut.

Effectiveness: Several human studies have shown that green coffee bean extract can help people lose weight.

A review of 3 studies found that the supplement made people lose 5.4 more pounds (2.5 kg) than placebo, a dummy pill.

Other benefits: Green coffee bean extract may help lower blood sugar levels, and reduce blood pressure. It is also high in antioxidants.

Side effects: It can cause the same side effects as caffeine. The chlorogenic acid in it may also cause diarrhea, and some people may be allergic to green coffee beans.

7. Glucomannan

 

Glucomannan is a type of fiber found in the roots of the elephant yam, also called konjac.

How it works: Glucomannan absorbs water and becomes gel-like. It “sits” in your gut and promotes a feeling of fullness, helping you eat fewer calories.

Effectiveness: Three human studies showed that glucomannan, combined with a healthy diet, can help people lose 8-10 pounds (3.6-4.5 kg) of weight in 5 weeks.

Other benefits: Glucomannan is a fiber that can feed the friendly bacteria in the intestine. It can also lower blood sugar, blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and is very effective against constipation.

Side effects: It can cause bloating, flatulence and soft stools, and can interfere with some oral medications if taken at the same time.

It is important to take glucomannan about a half an hour before meals, with a glass of water.

8. Meratrim

 

Meratrim is a relative newcomer on the diet pill market.

It is a combination of two plant extracts that may change the metabolism of fat cells.

How it works: It is claimed to make it harder for fat cells to multiply, decrease the amount of fat that they pick up from the bloodstream, and help them burn stored fat.

Effectiveness: So far, only one study has been done on Meratrim. A total of 100 obese people were placed on a strict 2000 calorie diet, with either Meratrim or a dummy pill.

After 8 weeks, the Meratrim group had lost 11 pounds (5.2 kg) of weight and 4.7 inches (11.9 cm) off their waistlines. They also had improved quality of life and reduced blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.

Side effects: No side effects have been reported.

9. Green Tea Extract

 

Green tea extract is a popular ingredient in many weight loss supplements.

This is because numerous studies have shown the main antioxidant in it, EGCG, to aid fat burning.

How it works: Green tea extract is believed to increase the activity of norepinephrine, a hormone that helps you burn fat.

Effectiveness: Many human studies have shown that green tea extract can increase fat burning and cause fat loss, especially in the belly area.

Side effects: Green tea extract is generally well tolerated. It does contain some caffeine, and may cause symptoms in people who are caffeine sensitive.

10. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

 

Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, has been a popular fat loss supplement for years.

It is one of the “healthier” trans fats, and is found naturally in some fatty animal foods like cheese and butter.

How it works: CLA may reduce appetite, boost metabolism and stimulate the breakdown of body fat.

Effectiveness: In a major review of 18 different studies, CLA caused weight loss of about 0.2 pounds (0.1 kg) per week, for up to 6 months.

According to another review study from 2012, CLA can make you lose about 3 lbs (1.3 kg) of weight, compared to a dummy pill.

Side effects: CLA can cause various digestive side effects, and may have harmful effects over the long term, potentially contributing to fatty liver, insulin resistance and increased inflammation.

11. Forskolin

Forskolin is an extract from a plant in the mint family, claimed to be effective for losing weight.

How it works: It is believed to raise levels of a compound inside cells called cAMP, which may stimulate fat burning.

Effectiveness: One study in 30 overweight and obese men showed that forskolin reduced body fat and increased muscle mass, while having no effect on body weight. Another study in 23 overweight women found no effects.

Side effects: There is very limited data on the safety of this supplement, or the risk of side effects.

12. Bitter Orange / Synephrine

 

A type of orange called bitter orange contains the compound synephrine.

Synephrine is related to ephedrine, which used to be a popular ingredient in various weight loss pill formulations.

However, ephedrine has since been banned as a weight loss ingredient by the FDA because of serious side effects.

How it works: Synephrine shares similar mechanisms with ephedrine, but is less potent. It can reduce appetite and significantly increase fat burning .

Effectiveness: Very few studies have been done on synephrine, but ephedrine has been shown to cause significant short-term weight loss in many studies.

Side effects: Like ephedrine, synephrine may have serious side effects related to the heart. It may also be addictive.

 

Prescription Medication

 

Additionally, there are many prescription weight loss pills that have been shown to be effective.

The most common ones are Contrave, Belviq, Phentermine and Qsymia.

According to a recent 2014 review study, even prescription weight loss pills don’t work as well as you would hope.

On average, they may help you lose up to 3-9% of body weight compared to a dummy pill.

Keep in mind that this is only when combined with a healthy weight loss diet. They are ineffective on their own, and hardly a solution to obesity.

Not to mention their many side effects.

 

Take Home Message

Out of the 12, these are the clear winners, with the strongest evidence to back them up:

  • Weight loss: Glucomannan, CLA and Orlistat (Alli).
  • Increased fat burning: Caffeine and green tea extract.

However, I have to advise against Orlistat due to the unpleasant side effects, and against CLA due to the harmful effects on metabolic health.

That leaves us with glucomannan, green tea extract and caffeine.

These supplements can be useful, but the effects are modest at best.

Unfortunately, NO supplement or pill really works that well for weight loss.

They may give your metabolism a bit of a nudge and help you lose a few pounds, but that’s where it ends, unfortunately.

Cutting carbs and eating more protein are still the best ways to lose weight, and work better than all the diet pills combined.

 

Originally posted by  | www.authoritynutrition.com