role of water in weight loss and losing weight


An important part of losing weight is staying hydrated throughout the course of the day.

    United States

    Losing weight is not going to be easy. Shedding those excess pounds is going to take a serious physical and mental commitment. Learning new strategies will help keep you excited, motivated, and serious about your goals. This article has some great tips to help you get fit and trim.

    Trying to lose weight? Make sure you're drinking plenty of water, especially before a meal. Drinking a full glass of water before eating often helps many people eat less. And the next time you're tempted to reach for a snack, make sure you hit the water fountain. Sometimes, when our brain tells us we're hungry, we're really just thirsty.

    Use washed, cut lemons in your drinking water. The lemony flavor will make the water taste better and that will encourage you drink more of it. You can cut up lemons and put them directly into a pitcher of ice water in the refrigerator to make drinking water quick and easy.

    Weight loss is nearly impossible without water. Many times your body can trigger a hunger response to thirst. If you drink a big glass of water before you eat you will know if you are really hungry or if you are just dehydrated. Keep a drink for yourself on hand at all times.

    Hunger is a problem for people trying to lose weight. Next time you are hungry, pause and think: is it true hunger or am I eating for non-food-related reasons? Many times we eat to satisfy emotional needs, or because we're tired, or need comfort. Often, we're just thirsty. Next time you feel hunger pangs, first examine your motives for feeling hungry, and then try drinking a very large glass of cool water. Before you eat again, see if the drink has satisfied your need.

    An important part of losing weight is staying hydrated throughout the course of the day. But, sometimes the taste of water gets to be boring. Luckily, there are a variety of products that are low or no calories that you can flavor your water with to help make drinking lots of it much easier! Check out your local grocery store for these products and get drinking.

    Drink the recommended amount of water every day. Usually, this is eight glasses of water but when you are active you will want to increase the amount you drink so you will stay hydrated. Drinking water will also keep you from getting hungry as often and prevent you from eating as much.

    Two fantastic words for weight loss: eat salad. Not exciting enough? Research shows that the most overweight people can lose prodigious amounts of weight eating prodigious amounts of nutrient-rich, low-calorie food. One key is simplicity: try an entire head of romaine, chopped very fine (the water method in the blender is useful), and topped with an entire can of chili beans. It's a tasty, 300-calorie lunch that is jam-packed with fiber, protein, and vitamins. It will keep you full for hours, not to mention what it will do for your intestinal health.

    Use a swimming pool to add natural tension to your body so those calories begin to burn quickly. The water has a natural resistance to your body. Because it is a fluid, your body naturally form fits into the water so you reduce chances of injury, and you will still be gaining the benefits of stretching out those muscles.

    To seriously contribute to your weight loss efforts, drink 16 ounces of water right before a meal. Not only is it just plain healthy to begin with, those two glasses of water will fill you up and no matter how good the meal is you will eat less! It may be easier said than done, especially when you are hungry but it is a great way to really lose weight!

    When you are changing your drinking patterns, you will want to be sure to ingest a high quality of water. By doing this you will lower the desires you have to drink other things and help you cut the addictions you have to the bad beverages. Remember to drink several cups per day.

    Getting educated about weight loss is half the battle. If you can stick with the advice in this article, you can really improve your health. Don't give up! If you keep working and try to take these strategies to heart, you can lose that extra weight.


About author: Dr. PJ Prakash has a Ph.D. in Nutrition from the Univ. of Rhode Island (USA). Visit his website to download your Nutritional Weight Loss eCourse, or to tap into a great nutrition career.

20 Best weight loss diet tips|health|wine|Weight loss|Vitamin C|theory| the rest| heart| Healthy| foods| diet| Clinic|fat loss diet|and weight loss diet


20 Best #weight loss diet tips for you

 Weight loss tips go a long way when it comes to shedding weight. These tips help you decide your diet and fitness routine. Here are the 20 best weight loss tips you should not ignore.

Truth about carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are not fattening. Plus it is unhealthy to opt for low carb diet and indulge in protein. It will only lead to other health problems. For weight loss, include high fibre carbohydrates brown rice and food prepared with whole grains. Fibre helps to flush out excess cholesterol and improves digestion.



 

Truth behind no carb diet

Theory goes that carbs break down sugar and starch into simple sugars or glucose, it is then absorbed into the blood cells with the help of insulin. But insulin prevents the breakdown of fats and the body uses the sugar for energy. The no carb diet or low carb diet theory goes that, if you avoid carbs you will utilise fats for energy. This process helps you to lose weight.

But no carbs diet can increase your chances of developing heart diseases even though you may be losing fat. In a no carb diet, fats are used for energy but in the bargain you are adding pressure to your heart with the excess consumption of fat. In the long run, no carb diet will increase cardiovascular diseases. Hence, doctors recommend that you find a healthy option for weight loss.

Dairy products are not fattening

Nutritionist Namita Nanal from Evolve Medspa explains, "Dairy products are nourishing. They are rich in proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. On the whole, if a diet is poor i.e. rich in fatty foods then that can result in weight gain. Chances of gaining weight only because of having dairy food is moderately less."

Can banana make you put on weight?

With a glycemic index of just 54 and with rich fibre, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6 and essential amino acids, bananas are a cut above ordinary snacks. The only way you'll gain weight by eating bananas is if you eat half a dozen without exercising. Also, bananas contain pectin and resistant starch which leave you feeling full for longer. This makes bananas ideal for any weight loss programme.

Weight loss truth about potatoes

1 large potato (260gms) will have 278 calories and 63 grams i.e. 21 percent of carbohydrates. But Indian markets you will find medium or small potatoes. Calories from potatoes result in weight gain only if taken regularly in large amounts. It is also important to take into account the preparation of the potatoes.

Avoid yo-yo diet

Neelanjana Singh with Heinz Nutri Life Clinic breaks down what really happens when you opt for a yo-yo diet and why you gain drastic amounts of weight later in life. She explains, "Yo yo diet means sometime you restrict calories, sometimes you become liberal with calories. So with this kind of mechanism is going on the nerve center in the body gets confused to what is the actual status of the body. Is there plenty calories around or is there a problem of getting food for the body."

Can alcohol make me gain weight?

Alcohol by itself does not make you gain weight. But it your snacking habits along with drinks that can add kilos. Having the right food with your drinks is the biggest way to fight weight gain. One way to do it is have your dinner before heading out or you can have unsalted nuts.

Healthy breakfast for weight loss

Make breakfast a part of your routine in order for weight loss. Lose weight by having a healthy breakfast, to keep you full till lunch, to avoid cravings and make you choose oily and unhealthy snack.

Non vegetarian food is fattening

It is believed that chicken and red meat is fattening. But is you leave out the fat and consume only the lean meat it is healthy and rich in proteins. It is also important to take into account how you prepare non vegetarian food - deep frying the meat will only make it rich in calories.

Truth about low calorie diet

Nutritionist, Mansi Belani from Evolve Medspa tells us, "Low calorie diets are actually made for weight loss purposes and it is beneficial if you follow it tactfully. Low calorie foods aren't the only solution to losing weight, but one needs to follow a combined nutritionally balanced diet so as to shed kilograms the right way."

Weight loss diet
- Choose a weight loss diet plan judiciously that includes a balanced diet.
- Follow a diet plan which is recommended by a professional.
- Do not fast or starve yourself or follow a crash diet.
- Do not indulge in overeating or emotional eating.
- Do not forget to have breakfast daily.

Avoid skipping your meals
Skipping meals leads to binge eating, you may be able to sustain it for a short while but eventually your willpower will give way to pure and natural hunger. Therefore carry nuts or other healthy snacks to keep eating and make sure you eat nutritious filling meals and Don't starve.

Avoid a heavy meal
Chicken, soup, and a nice big salad should be your ideal meal. This will really help in the long run if you form the habit of eating light. Many people come home from work starved and hence eat a hefty meal piling on chapatti after chapatti, but this isn't the way to go if you want to lose weight. It's important to get out of the mindset of falling back on the many chappatis and large quantities to feel like you've eaten a complete meal of any substance.

Importance of fats
Any diet, which is low in carbs, has to be high in fats, as that is the source you are going to use to draw energy from in the long run. This is true with protein rich diet like Atkins diet and low carb diets. Your body does not differentiate between stored fat and fat that has just been consumed, so once it switches to fat burning mode (which happens with a drastic reduction in carbs), it will rely on burning fat for energy needs.
 Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health/articlelist/2886723.cms

# weight loss and psoriasis, #weight loss can ease off psoriasis


People with psoriasis who lose weight could experience some relief from the symptoms of their chronic skin disease, according to a small new study.


A clinical trial based in Denmark found that obese patients with psoriasis who lost weight through a low-calorie diet experienced a significant improvement in their quality of life, compared to obese psoriasis patients who didn't lose weight.

The patients in the weight-loss group reported less stinging and burning, were less likely to be embarrassed by unsightly lesions, and found that their condition affected their everyday life less often, said Dr. Peter Jensen, of the Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, and colleagues.

"Our results emphasize the importance of weight loss as part of a multimodal treatment approach to effectively treat both the skin condition and its [related medical] conditions in overweight patients with psoriasis," the researchers said in the study, which was published online May 29 in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that develops when a person's immune system malfunctions and causes skin cells to grow too quickly. The new skin cells form in days rather than weeks and pile up on the skin's surface, causing scaly, painful lesions.

In the randomized clinical trial, 27 patients were assigned to an intervention group that followed a low-calorie diet and 26 patients were assigned to a control group that continued to eat ordinary healthy foods. Researchers tracked psoriasis symptoms and quality of life using two questionnaires.

The patients on a low-calorie diet ended up losing nearly 34 pounds in 16 weeks, and reported improvements in both their psoriasis symptoms and their overall quality of life.

Dermatologists said the study's results are not surprising, but do reinforce the need for overweight or obese people with psoriasis to try to lose weight.

"Obesity is a huge issue for patients with psoriasis," said Dr. Joel Gelfand, an associate professor of dermatology and medical director of the clinical studies unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. "If you're obese with psoriasis, psoriasis is less likely to get clear."

There are a couple reasons excess weight can exacerbate a person's psoriasis. First, psoriasis is an inflammatory disease, and obesity is a known cause of inflammation, said Dr. Larry Green, chairman of the research committee for the National Psoriasis Foundation.

"Anytime someone is obese, it's going to affect how their body can heal because it's a stress on the body and stress affects inflammation," Green said. "By losing weight, they're going to reduce the burden on their body."

Another possibility is that obesity may cause immune system responses that are very similar to those prompted by psoriasis.

"Obesity is associated with the same elevations of cytokines in the blood that promote psoriasis," Gelfand said. Cytokines are small signaling proteins used to regulate the body's immune response.

On a more mundane level, obesity also causes skin friction as parts of the body rub against each other, another expert said.

"If skin rubs against skin, psoriasis gets worse," said Dr. Jeffrey Weinberg, a dermatologist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. "Friction makes psoriasis get worse."

Gelfand said it's difficult to draw major clinical conclusions from such a small pilot study, adding that the people in the Danish study suffered from mild to moderate psoriasis and therefore were less likely to experience a vast improvement in their symptoms from weight loss.

"Larger studies in a population of patients with more severe skin disease are necessary to determine if these findings are clinically important," he said.

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More information
The American Academy of Dermatology has more about psoriasis.

Fiber is in most fruits and vegetables, and these also happen to be good for you.


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Weight loss has become a major topic of focus, because of the huge number of people trying to lose weight. Weight loss is not always easy. This article can help you a lot in overcoming this and coming out lighter.

    Importance of Fiber

    Fiber is composed of a variety of dietary materials that are either soluble or insoluble in boiling water. Fiber is neither digested nor absorbed in the small intestine, but is fermented by bacteria in the colon. Fiber is essential for normal bowel function. Adequate fiber prevents constipation, diverticular disease of the colon, and hemorrhoids. Consumption of diets adequate in fiber may prevent a variety of conditions including obesity, diabetes, gallstones, coronary artery disease, or colon cancer.

    There are two main types of dietary fibers:

    1.Soluble (prebiotic, viscous) fiber that is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts. Soluble fiber absorbs water to become a gelatinous, viscous substance and is fermented by bacteria in the digestive tract.

    2.Insoluble fiber that is metabolically inert, absorbing water as it moves through the digestive system, easing defecation. Insoluble fiber has bulking action and is not fermented.

    How much Fiber do you need

    Current recommendations from the United States National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, suggest that adults should consume 20–35 grams of dietary fiber per day, but the average American's daily intake of dietary fiber is only 12–18 grams.

    How to increase Fiber in your daily diet

    When choosing foods to eat on a diet, pick items that have high fiber content. Fiber will help fill you up faster than a comparable amount of sugar or fat. It is also healthier, and will help keep things "moving", which can be a problem when you first start out on a diet.

    Consuming fiber will help you lose weight. You'll probably get constipated as you start to lose weight, and fiber will help. Fiber will also help you to feel full longer, which will help you stay away from unhealthy snacks. Fiber is in most fruits and vegetables, and these also happen to be good for you.

    To boost the rate at which you lose weight, just add flax to your diet. Sprinkling flax on your oatmeal or chicken noodle soup not only adds a light, nutty taste to your meal, it also adds more fiber to your diet. The added fiber helps fill you up quicker and it has only 35 calories per tablespoon. Flax also provides omega-3 fatty acids which promotes cardiac health.

    Eating a bowl of muesli in the morning or evening can keep your weight under control. This is a type of porridge consisting of nuts, fruit and oats. Since this is soluble fiber, it is slow to digest, which makes you feel fuller longer, keeping your appetite in check. You will want to watch the sugar content, however, as it varies widely.

    It can be harder to get fruits during winter. Don't forget that high quality fruit and vegetable juices and drinks, frozen, canned or dried fruits also count. Be careful though when you buy fruit in sweetened syrup, as they usually have high sugar content. Eating whole fruits are healthier as they contain not only vitamins, but fiber too.

    Drinking a glass of juice provides your body with far too much sugar, so choose a glass of water and eating an actual fruit instead to help you lose weight. Fruit also contain fiber, which you won't get unless you eat the skin and the pulp. Apples are excellent for a dieter!

    To speed up metabolism and aid in weight loss, vegetables are one of your best options! Veggies contain vast amounts of fiber which boosts digestion and makes you feel fuller. Veggies even help rid the body of toxins. Salad and cooked or raw vegetables should be a part of every meal.

    If you want to eat less in a meal, eat an apple a few minutes before you eat your meal. Apples are good for you and contain a lot of fiber. These fibers will help you get filled up much faster and stay that way. You can eat other similar fruits too.

    When you are trying to lose weight, you should avoid any kind of white bread. The nutritional value of processed white flour is nearly zero. Any products made from this kind of flour are going to be nutritionally lacking. Consider bread that is high-fiber and nutrient-rich, such as whole wheat or whole meal varieties.

    Do small bursts of exercise throughout the day as part of your weight loss strategy. Most people do not have time to spend an hour at the gym. It is much easier to take a walk at lunch, park far away from the doors at the store or take the stairs. These mini workouts all count in your goal towards fitness and help you to lose the pounds.

    While you are trying to lose weight you should get into the habit of chewing your food well. Food should be in a liquid or near liquid state when you swallow it. Not only will this help you feel satisfied, but it allows your body to digest the food easily.

    If you are unhappy with your weight or body shape, you have read some good advice. You can now use this information and put it to work for you. You can reach that goal weight in no time!

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About author: Dr. PJ Prakash has a Ph.D. in Nutrition from the Univ. of Rhode Island (USA). Visit his website to download your Nutritional Weight Loss eCourse, or to tap into a great nutrition career.

brain and weight loss


Focus More on Your Brain and Less on Your Diet to Lose Weight

Weight loss is tricky business. Obviously what you eat has a huge impact on your health and body weight. But anyone who has ever tried to modify their diet for the sake of losing weight knows it isn’t so simple.

Most of us understand intuitively that broccoli is healthier than cookies. We can talk about sugar, fat, gluten, and antioxidants all day, but that doesn’t change the fact that cookies taste good and you still want to eat them. Any weight loss plan that simply tells you what to eat and neglects why you make the choices you make is unlikely to help you in the long run.

Nutrition knowledge is important, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. The real secret is understanding your behaviors and motivations at their roots, and using this information to have a meaningful impact on your health. In this sense, good health starts in your brain, not on your plate.
Willpower is a Limited Resource

The first thing you need to understand is that we don’t have as much control over our food decisions as most of us assume. We tend to believe that we can call on willpower anytime we wish and use it to order a salad instead of a burger, and if we fail to do so it is our own fault. However, self-control is not something we can simply turn on or off, and as a result the process of decision making––particularly when it comes to food––is much more complex.

Approximately 20 percent of the calories we expend daily are used by our brains. Because brain activity is so costly, things like self-control and decision making cannot be relied on indefinitely. As a result, willpower is a limited resource. Like a muscle, willpower becomes fatigued when exercised too frequently. All the decisions you make throughout the day deplete your willpower, and when you start running out of steam your ability to choose healthy food over more convenient food rapidly diminishes. Ironically, increasing your blood sugar can help restore willpower to some extent. But finding a healthy way to raise blood sugar in a state of depleted willpower can pose quite the dilemma. Tired brains find it much easier to just grab a cookie.

The way our brains cope with the willpower conundrum is to automate as much of our decision making as possible. It does this by creating habits. Habits are specific behaviors that occur in response to a trigger or cue. They are also always associated with some kind of reward, which in turn reinforces and strengthens the trigger. For example, a buzz in your pocket is a cue to reach down, grab your phone, pull it out, and glance at the screen. The information you see causes a bit of dopamine to be released in the reward center of your brain. We humans love novelty, which is why most of us have a reflexive response to checking our mobile devices when we receive a notification. This is how habits are born.

Once established, habits occur automatically without expending any willpower or mental effort. Scientists have estimated that up to 90 percent of our daily food decisions occur as a result of habits. This saves our brain energy for more difficult decisions where habits cannot be used.
How Can this Knowledge Help Us Lose Weight?

For one thing, it shows that willpower is not particularly reliable as a means to achieve lasting weight loss, and we’re better off spending our efforts creating healthy habits.

It also teaches us that any habit we wish to develop needs to impart a meaningful reward in order for it to stick. You can probably guess that some vague promise of future thinness is not sufficient––the reward for any habit needs to be immediate and tangible. This means that in order to achieve long-term weight control you need to find healthy foods you actually enjoy eating, physical activities you like doing, and spend your time making these as convenient and accessible as possible.

Fabulous news, right? Using willpower for restrictive dieting is difficult and incredibly unpleasant. We can all let out a collective sigh of relief that it doesn’t actually work. To achieve true success in health and weight loss, we’re better off quitting diets altogether and focusing on building healthy habits we enjoy. Try starting with something as simple as breakfast. Warm muesli with a splash of almond milk and cinnamon only takes two minutes to prepare and is absolutely delicious. Invest in a pedometer and challenge yourself to reach 10,000 steps a day. Setting and achieving an attainable goal is a very powerful reward, and is one of the reasons so many people love video games.

Since our brains are easily overwhelmed, don’t try to develop too many habits at once. Work on just two or three habits at a time, and build from there. Habits take anywhere from two weeks to six months to take root, but on average about two months. Start with the easiest ones and work your way up. Once you’ve built enough good habits, your health will take care of itself.




Prevention of piles hemorrhoids


Prevention of piles hemorrhoids

 The best way to prevent hemorrhoids is to keep your stools soft, so they pass easily. To prevent hemorrhoids and reduce symptoms of hemorrhoids, follow these tips:

    Eat high-fiber foods. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Doing so softens the stool and increases its bulk, which will help you avoid the straining that can cause hemorrhoids or worsen symptoms from existing hemorrhoids. Add fiber to your diet slowly to avoid problems with gas.
    
Drink plenty of fluids. Drink six to eight glasses of water and other liquids (not alcohol) each day to help keep stools soft.

    Consider fiber supplements. Most people don't get enough of the recommended amount of fiber — 20 to 35 grams a day — in their diet.  Studies have shown that over-the-counter fiber supplements, such as Metamucil and Citrucel, improve overall symptoms and bleeding from hemorrhoids. 

These products help keep stools soft and regular. If you use fiber supplements, be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water or other fluids every day. Otherwise, the supplements can cause constipation or make constipation worse.

    Don't strain. Straining and holding your breath when trying to pass a stool creates greater pressure in the veins in the lower rectum.

    Go as soon as you feel the urge. If you wait to pass a bowel movement and the urge goes away, your stool could become dry and be harder to pass.

    Exercise. Stay active to help prevent constipation and to reduce pressure on veins, which can occur with long periods of standing or sitting. Exercise can also help you lose excess weight that may be contributing to your hemorrhoids.

    Avoid long periods of standing or sitting. Sitting too long, particularly on the toilet, can increase the pressure on the veins in the anus.


daily multivitamin may add an extra health boost


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daily multivitamin is a great nutrition insurance policy. Some extra vitamin D may add an extra health boost


A daily multivitamin is a great nutrition insurance policy. Some extra vitamin D may add an extra health boost.

Trying to follow all the studies on vitamins and health can make your head swirl. But, when it’s all boiled down, the take–home message is actually pretty simple: A daily multivitamin, and maybe an extra vitamin D supplement, is a good way to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to be healthy. True, a healthy diet should provide nearly all the nutrients you need. But many people don’t eat the healthiest of diets. That’s why a multivitamin can help fill in the gaps, and may have added health benefits. The folic acid in most multivitamins helps prevent neural tube defects in newborns, if women take it before they become pregnant; folic acid may also lower the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and breast cancer. Vitamin D from a multivitamin or single supplement can lower the risk of colon and possibly many other cancers, as well as other chronic diseases.

Of course, there can be too much of a good thing. It’s important not to go overboard with vitamins. While a multivitamin and a vitamin D supplement can help fill some of the gaps in a less than optimal diet, too much can be harmful. In general, stick close to standard recommended doses in a multivitamin. And since your multivitamin will likely contain all the folic acid you’ll need, stay away from cereals, protein bars, and other foods that are super-fortified with folic acid.

Read enough nutrition news, and you’ll see that not all scientists agree on multivitamins. Some say that there’s not enough proof that multivitamins boost health, so they don’t recommend them. It’s a short-sighted point of view. Other scientists point to studies that seem to show a link between multivitamin use and increased risk of death.  But those studies are flawed. Looking at all the evidence, the potential health benefits of taking a standard daily multivitamin seem to outweigh the potential risks for most people.
 

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5 Quick Tips: Getting the Right Vitamins

1. Eat a healthy diet. A multivitamin provides some insurance against deficiencies but is far less important for health than the healthy food patterns described on this website. Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and healthy oils, and low in red meat and unhealthy fats—let the Healthy Eating Pyramid be your guide.

2. Choose a daily multivitamin. A daily multivitamin is an inexpensive nutrition insurance policy. Try to take one every day.

3. Think about D. In addition to its bone health benefits, there’s growing evidence that getting some extra vitamin D can help lower the risk of colon and breast cancer. Aim for getting 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day—this likely will require an extra vitamin D pill, in addition to your multivitamin.  For more information, see the vitamin D section of The Nutrition Source.

4. Say no to “megas.” In general, avoid mega-dose vitamins and mega-fortified foods. Higher doses of vitamin E may help to prevent heart disease, but in general, the amount in a standard multivitamin is enough to have health benefits. A standard multivitamin also has a day’s worth of folic acid, so you should avoid foods that have high amounts of folic acid added to them. Vitamin D is an exception, as many people need more than the RDA.

5. Avoid “super” supplements. Don’t be swayed by the wild health claims of the many health supplements advertised on TV and the Internet. If they sound too good to be true, you can be sure they are. Save your money for healthy food and a good vacation.

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how to get pregnant natural and take care of pregnancy till birth



8 Ways to Boost Your Fertility
Simple things -- diet, timing of sex, even your lubricant -- may help you conceive faster.

If you're like most couples who are trying to conceive, you want to get pregnant sooner rather than later.

Having intercourse as close as possible to ovulation  definitely helps. But fertility experts say there are other ways couples can boost their fertility. A few simple measures may make the next month the month you'll squeal: "We're pregnant!"

1. Her Fertility Booster: Weight Control

Being underweight or overweight can delay the time it takes a woman to conceive.

William Gibbons, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Baylor College of Medicine, says weight before getting pregnant is often an overlooked factor in fertility. Keeping a healthy weight can help with conception.

In a study, researchers evaluated the body mass index (BMI) of 2,112 pregnant women. Women in the study who had a pre-pregnancy body mass index BMI of 25-39 – considered overweight or obese -- had a twofold increase in the time it took to get pregnant. A BMI less than 19 (18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal) is even worse, the researchers found. Time to conception was increased fourfold in women with a BMI below 19.

Gibbons tells women to stay at a healthy weight when trying to conceive.
2. His Fertility Booster: Protect Those Sperm

According to Dale McClure, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the idea that changing to boxers instead of briefs will boost fertility by keeping genital temperatures down is basically an old wives' tale. Earlier studies seemed to point to boxers as the better choice, McClure says. But more recent studies haven't shown a major difference.

What about exposing the testicles to other sources of heat? The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says controlling temperature doesn't play much of role in boosting fertility. Some doctors, though, recommend staying away from certain sources. For instance, sitting in a hot tub day after day should be avoided, McClure says, even if a man has no known fertility problems. In at least one study, repeated exposure to high water temperatures through hot tubs or hot baths was shown to affect men's fertility.

Still, no research has clearly shown a link between exposure to other sources of heat and a man's fertility. One study did show that scrotal temperatures went up in laptop users who held the computer on their laps and warned that long-term exposures to high temperatures could harm sperm. Another study found that exposure to radiation from cell phones could adversely affect sperm that had been collected from participants. Researchers in that study speculated that keeping a cell phone in a pants pocket could affect the health of a man's sperm.

While neither study was sufficient to prove that exposure to sources of heat could harm sperm enough to affect fertility, McClure still says a man who wants to be a father probably shouldn't keep his laptop on his lap for extended periods of time. But even considering the above findings, McClure says he is "more concerned about hot tubbing."


8 Ways to Boost Your Fertility
Simple things -- diet, timing of sex, even your lubricant -- may help you conceive faster.
(continued)
3. Her Fertility Booster: Watch the Beverages

Drinking too much coffee or too much alcohol can impair a woman's fertility.

Experts say that drinking more than five cups of coffee a day -- the equivalent of about 500 milligrams of caffeine -- is associated with lower fertility. But don't give up your daily cup of coffee just yet. Moderate caffeine consumption, Gibbons says, seems to be OK. Having one or two cups a day is fine. His advice for women who are coffee or soda drinkers: "Stay under 200 to 250 milligrams of caffeine a day."

Studies on alcohol intake and women's fertility have produced mixed findings. But Swedish researchers have found that women who drank two alcoholic beverages a day decreased their fertility by nearly 60%. Once again, moderation is key. Although higher levels of alcohol -- two drinks or more a day -- should be avoided when trying to get pregnant, there is no evidence to show that moderate alcohol consumption adversely affects fertility.

You will, though, want to cut out alcohol completely once you are pregnant. Drinking while pregnant increases the risk of serious birth defects.
4. Couple's Fertility Booster: Stop Smoking

Smoking cigarettes can impair both a woman's and a man's fertility. Smoking affects how receptive the uterus is to the egg. And in men, smoking can reduce sperm production and damage DNA. Experts also strongly suggest quitting smoking before you’re pregnant. Smoking while pregnant boosts the risk of miscarriage.
5. Couple's Fertility Booster: The Fertile Window

Taking advantage of what doctors call the "fertile window" can boost your chances of pregnancy. The fertile window is the six-days that end on the day of ovulation. Pregnancy is most likely to occur with intercourse within the three days before ovulation.

Richard Paulson, chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, says that couples often wait until the day of ovulation or later to have intercourse. But if you really want to get pregnant, “Err on the early side,” he says.

Paulson also advises keeping close track of ovulation -- either by the calendar method, figuring ovulation occurs about 14 days before the menstrual period is due, or by using an ovulation predictor kit, widely sold online and in drugstores.
6. Couple's Fertility Booster: Have Frequent Sex

Delaying lovemaking -- or as some couples say, ''saving up'' -- isn't going to boost the chances of pregnancy, McClure says.

"After about a week, the [sperm] count goes up a bit, but the motility decreases," he says. Not having sex for more than five days may affect sperm counts adversely. But intervals as short as two days don't harm sperm density.

Although daily intercourse produced the highest pregnancy rate in one study, it may pose too much stress for some couples. The same study showed that having sex every other day produced nearly as good a pregnancy rate.


8 Ways to Boost Your Fertility
Simple things -- diet, timing of sex, even your lubricant -- may help you conceive faster.
(continued)
7. Couples Fertility Booster: Choose Lubricants Wisely

With more frequent intercourse, couples may turn more to vaginal lubricants. That's OK, doctors say, if the lubes are picked wisely. Some lubricants can actually decrease fertility.  When you're trying to get pregnant, be sure to avoid products that have spermicidal agents.


So what is a good lubricant to use? "Canola oil," Gibbons says.

"Even peanut oil is good," McClure says. But impromptu household lubes may not be good. "I had a patient yesterday with a great sperm count and no motility [swimming ability]," McClure says. When he asked a few more questions, he got to the root of the problem. "He was using soap for a lubricant," and soap was killing the sperm.

You also want to avoid commercially available water-based lubricants. Water-based lubricants, such as Astroglide, KY Jelly, and Touch, may inhibit sperm motility by 60% to 100%.
8. Couple's Fertility Booster: Avoid Pesticides and Other Harmful Exposures

Exposures to pesticide, especially agricultural pesticides, may harm both men and women's fertility. And exposure to some solvents and toxins -- including those used in printing businesses and dry cleaning establishments -- can adversely affect women's fertility.

dr oz dopamine diet can speed up weight loss


Dr. Oz's dopamine diet curbs your cravings and speeds up weight loss

For most of us, the challenge in achieving a healthy weight comes from those frustrating food cravings. With visions of delicious donuts and creamy ice cream dancing in our heads, we can't seem to stay on track, regardless of which diet we try. Recognizing that problem, Dr. Mehmet Oz has created a new kind of weight plan: Dr. Oz's dopamine diet. Unveiled on his May 13 talk show, Dr. Oz explained how this easy-to-follow diet curbs your food and hunger cravings. Learn how these holistic diet solutions can forever change how you eat in this article.

Serving as an expert on this subject: Bruce Wylde. A specialist in alternative and natural health, Bruce has authored two books, "Wylde on Health: Your Best Choices in the World of Natural Health" (click for details) and "The Antioxidant Prescription: How to Use the Power of Antioxidants to Prevent Disease and Stay Healthy for Life" (click to buy now). Bruce explains that because higher levels of dopamine lower your food cravings, you can overcome the desire to overeat by eating nutrient-rich foods high in tyrosine, which is dopamine's natural building block of dopamine (see complete list of foods at the end of this article). He also recommends supplementing with the amino acid L-Tyrosine to boost your dopamine levels. Bruce suggests 500 to 1,000 mg when you wake up (i.e., on an empty stomach). Repeat that dosage between lunch and dinner. My tip: Choose a well-known manufacturer to make sure that you are getting the dosage shown without unnecessary ingredients. Examples of recommended ones include Source Naturals L-Tyrosine 500 mg (click for details) and NOW Foods L-Tyrosine 500 mg (click to order now).

However, Bruce emphasizes that it is important to get tested and discuss with your doctor prior before starting the supplement. In addition, make foods high in L-Tyrosine the base of your meals. Use these foods in your menus to naturally boost your dopamine levels and reduce cravings:

    Fava beans (Tip: Never had these beans? They're high in protein. You can use a slow cooker and serve over brown rice mixed with veggies, using a brand such as Bob's Red Mill Fava Beans - click for details.)
    Duck
    Chicken
    Ricotta cheese (Tip: For a great dinner, mix ricotta cheese, tomato sauce and Schar Naturally Gluten-Free Spaghetti - click to order.)
    Oatmeal
    Mustard greens
    Edamame (Tip: Enjoy these crunchy snacks with a piece of fruit. Select a lightly salted brand, such as Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame - click for details).
    Dark chocolate
    Seaweed
    Wheat germ (Tip: For a fabuous breakfast filled with fiber and vitamins, click here to get Hodgson Mill Wheat Germ with Cinnamon & Flaxseed.)

facebook online social media networks can help obese children to resist bad food habits


Online Social Network Helps Obese Kids Resist Problem Foods
May 15, 2012 (Lyon, France) — Anonymous social networking — online and on smart phones — helps obese youth to cope with their condition, resist problem foods, manage their eating, and lose weight.

Robert Pretlow, MD, MSEE, from eHealth International in Seattle, Washington, has used an addiction medicine approach and designed a Web site and smart phone app to combat substance (food) abuse. He presented the program and some early results here at the 19th European Congress on Obesity.

His program involves anonymous social support networks, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous, Support groups are indispensable in addiction medicine, and anonymity is crucial to help avoid shame and embarrassment.

Users of the Weigh2Rock.com Web site enter their first names, heights, and weights; the system identifies them by their Internet protocol addresses so that the site can track them over time. Various information is stored on separate computer servers, and confidentiality is maintained.

From June 2000 to September 2010, 29,406 unique users 8 to 21 years of age (mean, 14.2 ± 2.0 years) anonymously posted 41,535 messages and 93,787 replies on the message board. Most users (94%) were female. Mean self-reported body mass index (BMI) was 33.7 ± 7.4 kg/m².

Social Networks Combat Food Addiction

Studies have found that overweight children eat more when they are out with other overweight kids; the group legitimizes members using food to escape their problems. When a person becomes obese, the risk of his or her friends becoming obese rises by more than 50%.

Problem foods are highly pleasurable, provide comfort, and the abuser seeks them out, Dr. Pretlow explained. Problem eating is associated with changes in the brain that are demonstrable with neuroimaging. These changes can reinforce the food-seeking behavior, setting up a vicious cycle.

Social networks can help counter overeating. Weigh2Rock.com is for preteens, teens, and parents, and attracts 50,000 to 100,000 visitors each month. The site extended its membership age to 25 years as members have aged out of the teen years.

The site provides questions and answers, a weight calculator, members' weigh-in results, information on foods, medical articles, polls, and importantly, success stories and social networking using chat rooms and message boards. A Kids Helping Kids section provides answers to other users' questions, advice about problems, plaudits, and other social support.

Each member is paired up with a "weight-loss buddy" for social support and acceptance to overcome the social isolation that can result in "comfort eating," and for motivation, accountability, mutual problem solving, and resisting cravings and binges.

"Over the past 12 years, these kids have posted more than 140,000 messages," Dr. Pretlow said. Of all the thousands of visitors each month, almost all of them are "lurkers," meaning that they read what is there but do not interact on the message boards. "A very small fraction actually do any interacting at all, but the others seem to benefit because they keep coming back," Dr. Pretlow said.

Messages can be very candid. One 15-year-old girl said she "was never this open" with anyone about her weight, "not even my family." Dr. Pretlow told Medscape Medical News that the message boards are moderated; inappropriate messages are deleted and the people posting them can be banned from the site.

Web Site and App Provide a Therapeutic Effect

Beyond social support, the Web site appears to provide a true therapeutic effect. Preteens and teens using the Web site lost a mean of 3.4 kg.

A free smart phone app for iPhones and iPod Touches, called W8Loss2Go, makes the system portable and gives members the tools to deal with food when they are out. It is designed so that all the tools are resident on the iPhone or iPod so that no connection to the Internet or cell phone network is needed to make it work.

Among the many tools in the program is one that allows kids to put a picture of their face (shot with the device's camera) on a body that they can make fatter or thinner to see how they would look, Dr. Pretlow explained. He said both views appear to motivate the users.

A tool to dissuade eating is a series of pictures of disgusting objects — bugs on food, rotting food, dead animals, a dirty toilet, and even worse. The kids say it really works when they have a food craving.

Dr. Pretlow has completed a 19-week pilot study with 12 participants, 10 to 23 years of age, who were in the 96th BMI percentile.

They lost an average of 4.8 kg and reduced their BMI by an average of 1.6 kg/m2. Mean weights decreased through week 5, rose a bit through week 8, and then decreased through week 16, when they essentially plateaued through week 19. A larger trial of the app involving 30 participants is scheduled to begin next month.

Although Dr. Pretlow said the weight loss from social networking is not as much as from face-to-face weight loss programs, the Web site and app are free and more widely available. They also are useful for weight maintenance or relapses, and can be used indefinitely. He hopes to be able to provide iPhones or iPod Touches to schools for them to lend to overweight students.

Session moderator Chantal Simon, MD, PhD, professor of nutrition at the University of Lyon Medical School in France, told Medscape Medical News that she is very interested by the approach that Dr. Pretlow is taking.

"The food industry is using a lot of these tools, [but] we don't use these," Dr. Simon said.

She sees this sort of system as a useful tool for physicians; Dr. Pretlow has heard from a pediatrician that he now has "a place to send overweight kids."

Dr. Simon said a potential danger of this anonymous system with rather open communication is that it could possibly counteract other supportive or therapeutic approaches, "through obesity modeling or other negative inputs." In addition, the anonymity and the fact that the system is computer-based could enhance social isolation.

She added that this was a small study. "I think that we need a better constructed and evidenced study with a control group."

Dr. Simon suggested that it might be good to test a similar system for adults. "The smart phone can give some messages during the day, even when you are not in front of your computer.... [It could be a] complementary strategy to increase self-esteem and behavior changes. We have to try this," she said.

Dr. Pretlow's research institute, eHealth International, owns the Web site and the smart phone app, both of which he has been funding himself. They are both free to users. Dr. Simon has disclosed no relevant financial relationships..

19th European Congress on Obesity (ECO): Abstract 46. Presented May 10, 2012.

heart health, prevent disease, heart attack, angina pectoris, hypertension part 2



Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease
5. Choose low-fat protein sources

Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and egg whites or egg substitutes are some of your best sources of protein. But be careful to choose lower fat options, such as skim milk rather than whole milk and skinless chicken breasts rather than fried chicken patties.

Fish is another good alternative to high-fat meats. And certain types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides. You'll find the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring. Other sources are flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil.

Legumes — beans, peas and lentils — also are good sources of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat. Substituting plant protein for animal protein — for example, a soy or bean burger for a hamburger — will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake.

Proteins to choose Proteins to limit or avoid
  • Low-fat dairy products such as skim or low-fat (1%) milk, yogurt and cheese
  • Egg whites or egg substitutes
  • Fish, especially fatty, cold-water fish, such as salmon
  • Skinless poultry
  • Legumes
  • Soybeans and soy products, for example, soy burgers and tofu
  • Lean ground meats
  • Full-fat milk and other dairy products
  • Organ meats, such as liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fatty and marbled meats
  • Spareribs
  • Cold cuts
  • Hot dogs and sausages
  • Bacon
  • Fried or breaded meats
6. Reduce the sodium in your food

Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. The Department of Agriculture recommends:

    Healthy adults have no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day (about a teaspoon)
    People age 51 or older, African-Americans, and people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease have no more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day

Although reducing the amount of salt you add to food at the table or while cooking is a good first step, much of the salt you eat comes from canned or processed foods, such as soups and frozen dinners. Eating fresh foods and making your own soups and stews can reduce the amount of salt you eat. If you like the convenience of canned soups and prepared meals, look for ones with reduced sodium. Be wary of foods that claim to be lower in sodium because they are seasoned with sea salt instead of regular table salt — sea salt has the same nutritional value as regular salt.

Another way to reduce the amount of salt you eat is to choose your condiments carefully. Many condiments are available in reduced-sodium versions, and salt substitutes can add flavor to your food with less sodium. 

Low-salt items to choose High-salt items to avoid
  • Herbs and spices
  • Salt substitutes
  • Reduced-salt canned soups or prepared meals
  • Reduced-salt versions of condiments, such as reduced-salt soy sauce and reduced-salt ketchup
  • Table salt
  • Canned soups and prepared foods, such as frozen dinners
  • Tomato juice
  • Soy sauce

 
7. Plan ahead: Create daily menus

You know what foods to feature in your heart-healthy diet and which ones to limit. Now it's time to put your plans into action.

Create daily menus using the six strategies listed above. When selecting foods for each meal and snack, emphasize vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Choose lean protein sources and limit high-fat and salty foods. Watch your portion sizes and add variety to your menu choices. For example, if you have grilled salmon one evening, try a black-bean burger the next night. This helps ensure that you'll get all of the nutrients your body needs. Variety also makes your meals and snacks more interesting.
8. Allow yourself an occasional treat

Allow yourself an indulgence every now and then. A candy bar or handful of potato chips won't derail your heart-healthy diet. But don't let it turn into an excuse for giving up on your healthy-eating plan. If overindulgence is the exception, rather than the rule, you'll balance things out over the long term. What's important is that you eat healthy foods most of the time.

Incorporate these eight tips into your life, and you'll continue to find that heart-healthy eating is both doable and enjoyable. With planning and a few simple substitutions, you can eat with your heart in mind. 




heart health care, how to prevent heart disease, heart attack, angina pectoris, hypertension part 1


 
Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease
Changing your eating habits can be tough. Start with these eight strategies to kick-start your way toward a heart-healthy diet.
By Mayo Clinic staff

Although you might know that eating certain foods can increase your heart disease risk, it's often tough to change your eating habits. Whether you have years of unhealthy eating under your belt or you simply want to fine-tune your diet, here are eight heart-healthy diet tips. Once you know which foods to eat more of and which foods to limit, you'll be on your way toward a heart-healthy diet.
1. Control your portion size

How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Overloading your plate, taking seconds and eating until you feel stuffed can lead to eating more calories, fat and cholesterol than you should. Portions served in restaurants are often more than anyone needs. Keep track of the number of servings you eat — and use proper serving sizes — to help control your portions. Eating more of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and less of high-calorie, high-sodium foods, such as refined, processed or fast foods, can shape up your diet as well as your heart and waistline.

A serving size is a specific amount of food, defined by common measurements such as cups, ounces or pieces. For example, one serving of pasta is 1/2 cup, or about the size of a hockey puck. A serving of meat, fish or chicken is 2 to 3 ounces, or about the size and thickness of a deck of cards. Judging serving size is a learned skill. You may need to use measuring cups and spoons or a scale until you're comfortable with your judgment.
2. Eat more vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables and fruits are also low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. Vegetables and fruits contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables may help you eat less high-fat foods, such as meat, cheese and snack foods.

Featuring vegetables and fruits in your diet can be easy. Keep vegetables washed and cut in your refrigerator for quick snacks. Keep fruit in a bowl in your kitchen so that you'll remember to eat it. Choose recipes that have vegetables or fruits as the main ingredient, such as vegetable stir-fry or fresh fruit mixed into salads.


Fruits and vegetables to choose Fruits and vegetables to avoid
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits
  • Low-sodium canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit packed in juice or water
  • Coconut
  • Vegetables with creamy sauces
  • Fried or breaded vegetables
  • Canned fruit packed in heavy syrup
  • Frozen fruit with sugar added

3. Select whole grains

Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. You can increase the amount of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products. Or be adventuresome and try a new whole grain, such as whole-grain couscous, quinoa or barley.

Another easy way to add whole grains to your diet is ground flaxseed. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your total blood cholesterol. You can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and stir a teaspoon of them into yogurt, applesauce or hot cereal.


Grain products to choose Grain products to limit or avoid
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Whole-grain bread, preferably 100% whole-wheat bread or 100% whole-grain bread
  • High-fiber cereal with 5 g or more of fiber in a serving
  • Whole grains such as brown rice, barley and buckwheat (kasha)
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Oatmeal (steel-cut or regular)
  • Ground flaxseed
  • White, refined flour
  • White bread
  • Muffins
  • Frozen waffles
  • Corn bread
  • Doughnuts
  • Biscuits
  • Quick breads
  • Granola bars
  • Cakes
  • Pies
  • Egg noodles
  • Buttered popcorn
  • High-fat snack crackers

4. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol

Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

The American Heart Association offers these guidelines for how much fat and cholesterol to include in a heart-healthy diet:


Type of fat Recommendation
Saturated fat Less than 7% of your total daily calories, or less than 14 g of saturated fat if you follow a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet
Trans fat Less than 1% of your total daily calories, or less than 2 g of trans fat if you follow a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet
Cholesterol Less than 300 mg a day for healthy adults; less than 200 mg a day for adults with high levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol or those who are taking cholesterol-lowering medication

The best way to reduce saturated and trans fats in your diet is to limit the amount of solid fats — butter, margarine and shortening — you add to food when cooking and serving. You can also reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by trimming fat off your meat or choosing lean meats with less than 10 percent fat.

You can also use low-fat substitutions when possible for a heart-healthy diet. For example, top your baked potato with salsa or low-fat yogurt rather than butter, or use low-sugar fruit spread on your toast instead of margarine.

You may also want to check the food labels of some cookies, crackers and chips. Many of these snacks — even those labeled "reduced fat" — may be made with oils containing trans fats. One clue that a food has some trans fat in it is the phrase "partially hydrogenated" in the ingredient list.

When you do use fats, choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats, found in nuts and seeds, also are good choices for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower your total blood cholesterol. But moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories.


Fats to choose Fats to limit
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Margarine that's free of trans fats
  • Cholesterol-lowering margarine, such as Benecol, Promise Activ or Smart Balance
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Bacon fat
  • Gravy
  • Cream sauce
  • Nondairy creamers
  • Hydrogenated margarine and shortening
  • Cocoa butter, found in chocolate
  • Coconut, palm, cottonseed and palm-kernel oils




heart care, protecting heart from heart disease,what every woman should know about heart attack



 

Five Drug/Medicines-free medication-free strategies to help prevent heart disease
You can prevent heart disease by following a heart-healthy lifestyle. Here are five strategies to help you protect your heart.
By Mayo Clinic staff

Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but that doesn't mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take.

You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. Here are five heart disease prevention tips to get you started.
1. Don't smoke or use tobacco

Smoking or using tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack. When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes also are risky, as is exposure to secondhand smoke.

In addition, the nicotine in cigarette smoke makes your heart work harder by narrowing your blood vessels and increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This increases your blood pressure by forcing your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen. Even so-called "social smoking" — smoking only while at a bar or restaurant with friends — is dangerous and increases the risk of heart disease.

Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke than are those who don't do either. This risk increases with age, especially in women older than 35.

 

The good news, though, is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within just one year. And no matter how long or how much you smoked, you'll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.
2. Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week

Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater.

Physical activity helps you control your weight and can reduce your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It also reduces stress, which may be a factor in heart disease.

Try getting at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. However, even shorter amounts of exercise offer heart benefits, so if you can't meet those guidelines, don't give up. You can even break up your workout time into 10-minute sessions.

And remember that activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward your total. You don't have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but you can see bigger benefits by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.


3. Eat a heart-healthy diet

Eating a special diet called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan can help protect your heart. Following the DASH diet means eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, which can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Limiting certain fats you eat also is important. Of the types of fat — saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat — saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels.



Major sources of saturated fat include:

    Red meat
    Dairy products
    Coconut and palm oils

Sources of trans fat include:

    Deep-fried fast foods
    Bakery products
    Packaged snack foods
    Margarines
    Crackers

Look at the label for the term "partially hydrogenated" to avoid trans fat.

Heart-healthy eating isn't all about cutting back, though. Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart disease, but also may help prevent cancer.

Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, may decrease your risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure. Some fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are a good natural source of omega-3s. Omega-3s are present in smaller amounts in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, soybean oil and canola oil, and they can also be found in supplements.

Following a heart-healthy diet also means drinking alcohol only in moderation — no more than two drinks a day for men, and one a day for women. At that moderate level, alcohol can have a protective effect on your heart. More than that becomes a health hazard.
4. Maintain a healthy weight

As you put on weight in adulthood, your weight gain is mostly fat rather than muscle. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

One way to see if your weight is healthy is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), which considers your height and weight in determining whether you have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat. BMI numbers 25 and higher are associated with higher blood fats, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The BMI is a good, but imperfect guide. Muscle weighs more than fat, for instance, and women and men who are very muscular and physically fit can have high BMIs without added health risks. Because of that, waist circumference also is a useful tool to measure how much abdominal fat you have:

    Men are considered overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (101.6 centimeters, or cm)
    Women are overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (88.9 cm)

Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Reducing your weight by just 10 percent can decrease your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of diabetes.
5. Get regular health screenings

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But without testing for them, you probably won't know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether you need to take action.

    Blood pressure. Regular blood pressure screenings start in childhood. Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. You may need more-frequent checks if your numbers aren't ideal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury.
    Cholesterol levels. Adults should have their cholesterol measured at least once every five years starting at age 20. You may need more frequent testing if your numbers aren't optimal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Some children may need their blood cholesterol tested if they have a strong family history of heart disease.

    Diabetes screening. Since diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease, you may want to consider being screened for diabetes. Talk to your doctor about when you should have a fasting blood sugar test to check for diabetes. Depending on your risk factors, such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes, your doctor may recommend first testing you for diabetes sometime between ages 30 and 45, and then retesting every three to five years.
Mayo Clinic

Mobile Cell Phone Apps/Apple iphone apps that can help in health and weight loss


Phone App Aids Weight Loss by Promoting Attentive Eating
LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom — Smartphone apps could help people to lose weight by encouraging them to notice and record the amount of food they consume as they eat, according to a new feasibility study presented here at the ECO2013, the 20th European Congress on Obesity.

The research by Eric Robinson, PhD, from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, and colleagues builds on their previous work on attentive eating, which concluded that distractions, such as radio, television, and computers, increased food intake by up to 50%, both during a meal and later in the day.

On the basis that paying attention to what is eaten and remembering it clearly help reduce energy intake, Dr. Robinson and colleagues designed a smartphone application that would help promote food memory in overweight or obese people.

The 1.5-kg average weight loss observed in their 4-week study "is similar to a recent more intensive 2-month trial that investigated the impact of dietary/exercise advice and habit formation," said Dr. Robinson. This suggests that "raising awareness of eating and weight loss achieved" could be a fruitful approach, he observed.

Approached by Medscape Medical News for comment, Allan Geliebter, PhD, from the New York Obesity Research Center at Columbia University, New York City, said that heightening awareness of food intake is an important factor in combating excessive food consumption. And the use of a phone app is particularly exciting, because of its practicality and the intrinsic attractiveness of such technology, he noted.

Promising Findings, but Longer-Term Trials Needed

The app consists of 3 main parts. Before eating or drinking, users photograph the food/drink about to be consumed under a "snap" function; they are reminded by text to complete a "most-recent" photograph when they have finished.

Second, users focus on the on-screen “most-recent” image after the meal and answer questions on quantity eaten and feelings of satiety.

The final part opens a chronological slide show of the consumption episodes recorded during that day. A short text message instructs users to remember what they have eaten and reminds them to eat attentively and to snap their next meal.

Twelve overweight (n = 5) and obese (n = 7) participants took part in the trial. Mean body mass index (BMI) was 32.1, mean weight was 96.3 kg, and mean age was 42 years. They were compensated with £30 ($45) for their time.

Mean weight loss was -1.5 kg over the 4 weeks. Half the participants (6/12) lost 1 kg or more, 4 lost between 0 and 1 kg, and the remaining 2 gained between 0.1 and 0.4 kg. The individuals accessed the application on average 5.7 times a day, and the mean number of eating and drinking episodes recorded daily was 2.7.

"Our study introduces a new attentive eating approach aimed at reducing dietary intake and promoting weight loss, supported by theoretical models of the role of memory on energy intake regulation," said Dr. Robinson.

"Results suggest that a simple smartphone…intervention based on these principles is feasible and could promote healthier dietary practices. Maybe you can't imagine people using this app for the rest of their lives, but it might help them to develop better eating habits.

"Given that our trial was a very brief intervention with little contact time and no nutritional advice or support, this is a promising finding," he added.

However, he stressed that a larger, randomized controlled trial "testing proof of principle for an attentive eating intervention on weight loss is now warranted," because long-term maintenance of changes to the diet and weight loss are hard to achieve.

Dr. Geliebter told Medscape Medical News: "This has huge potential for taking action on obesity on a population basis, particularly since it is an app — which makes it intrinsically attractive." However, one of the important factors determining whether it will ultimately prove successful when it is rolled out will be "whether [or not] the app is free," he observed.

Research was funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research National School for Primary Care Research. Neither Dr. Robinson nor Dr. Geliebter has reported relevant financial relationships.

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