Archive for August, 2011

Do Banana’s Provide Natural Weight Loss Benefits?

A new study suggests that high-potassium foods like bananas can lower heart attack risk and induce natural weight loss. It is observed that those who eat plenty of food rich in potassium have healthier and stronger cardiovascular systems.

The research study, reported by American Heart Association, analyzed 10 comprehensive studies that were participated by over 20,000 young adults and older adults. Findings show an 11 % decline of heart attack rate base on 1,000 mg increase in daily potassium intake.

Wonder what’s in your regular banana that lowers stroke risk? The answer is potassium. Below are the reasons why your body requires potassium.

The Natural Weight Loss and Health Benefits of Potassium

  • Potassium is a vital electrolyte in the human body. There should be a balance between sodium and potassium. High sodium, low potassium diet causes high blood pressure that is directly linked to heart failures. A high potassium diet on the other hand helps regulate blood pressure and promotes a healthier heart. Foods rich in potassium are also good for natural weight loss. They contain less sodium and more electrolytes so it makes your body feel hydrated.
  • Potassium gives you more energy. It makes proteins from amino acids. Also, potassium transforms glucose to glycogen. Proteins and glycogen are the primary sources of energy in the body. Proteins are also the building blocks of muscles. An increase in muscle size burns more fat which results in natural weight loss. Lack of potassium makes you feel tired and less functioning.
  • Potassium builds stronger bones. Pregnant women are advised to consume a high potassium diet to help their infants grow stronger bones. A considerable number of wellness coaches and professionals believe that adolescents should consider eating plenty of potassium-rich foods daily too. It makes muscles and bones thicker and stronger to prevent osteoporosis.
  • Potassium develops clearer and healthier neural pathways. In simpler terms, potassium helps you think better and more clearly. Including potassium rich foods in your regular diet enhances brain activity. Lack of potassium on the other hand can lead to depression, hallucination, psychosis and other mental illness.
  • When's the last time you saw a fat monkey?

    Potassium makes you feel good. Potassium is involved in many bodily processes. As a result, it affects your over-all body capability. Many wellness coaches agree that people who do not consume enough potassium are not ill but are not functioning at their best either. And when you do not function at your best, you don’t just feel good overall.

Generally, foods that are high in potassium are a good addition to your daily diet. Not only bananas. Beans, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy are a good source of potassium also. If you want more advice on the best types of foods to eat consult with a wellness coach who can guide you to the best methods to achieve natural weight loss.

 

Are Your Hormones are Making You Overweight?

Now that summer is in full gear many are taking efforts to strive towards their goals of wellness, yet many wonder why they can’t seem to lose those extra pounds.  Eating less and exercising more goes without saying for most, however despite efforts to really gear up, establishing the root cause of the extra weight may just be what the doctor ordered.  Stress, blood sugar imbalances, and a slow metabolism are often culprits that are worth investigating.  Do you experience low energy, lack of good quality sleep (trouble falling or staying asleep), anxiety, a general feeling of sluggishness, or all of the above?  If so, it may in fact be your hormones that are making (or keeping) you overweight.

Stress affects us all.  Our bodies are designed to cope with stress by producing and releasing a hormone called cortisol.  Cortisol also works to elevate blood sugar levels and tends to store fat in our abdomen and thighs.  Cortisol is designed to elevate our heart rate, increase blood pressure, and direct blood flow towards our muscles for the purpose of surmounting whatever stress is being presented to us at that moment in time.   With exercise, this stress response can be taken advantage of, however while sitting in an office cubicle (or in front of the TV), this can eventually lead to illness such as hypertension, among others.  When we become stressed for too long, our bodies begin to lose the ability to produce enough cortisol when we need it the most.  Cortisol should be highest in the morning and lowest in the evening.  A salivary four point cortisol test is easy, non-invasive and can be an integral part of a stress reduction program; it is worth a discussion with your naturopathic doctor.

Muscles require fuel and fat is fuel. Sugar is the easiest fuel for muscles to use, then carbohydrates, and then fat.   If we consume sugary foods (like donuts) our muscles will simply say ‘hey I don’t need to burn fat for fuel.  I can just use the sugar from this donut!’  It is much more difficult to lose weight when you are eating sugar.  Plus, if you eat sugar, you will get a spike of energy, but your body will burn it very quickly leaving you to crash, and feeling sluggish.  A great weight loss trick is to stabilize your blood sugar; eat foods that will force your body to burn sugar slowly over time.  Healthy fats (count the calories; approximately 120kcal per tbsp of any type of fat) such as wild Alaskan salmon oil, fiber (sprouted chia or flax), and protein  are all categories which can help.

Some people claim that they have a slower metabolism than others. When they eat that one cheeseburger a month, they feel that they are more likely to gain those extra pounds than someone else who just seems to burn right through it. First off, exercise will most certainly help to boost your metabolism. That said, it might be worth while to investigate as to whether you have an under functioning thyroid gland.  The thyroid gland releases thyroid hormone which is our main metabolism hormone for utilizing fat for energy!  Ask your doctor about measuring your TSH and free T4; an easy blood test.

Statistics Canada suggests that close to 50% of Canadians are overweight or obese.  Obesity is one of the number one risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease; and one of the rare preventable diseases that takes the lives of our loved ones each year.  If you or someone you know is having difficulty losing weight, there are many root causes.  Some of them have been discussed in this article; stress, blood sugar imbalances, and possible thyroid dysfunction.  However there are many others; depression for example, most of which can often be treated using herbs and nutritional support along side a healthy exercise program.  The most important thing is to empower yourself to create your own personal health goals, and get help if you need it as you strive toward them.

Post written by: Dr. Robert W. Horovitz, B.Sc, ND

Robert is a licensed naturopathic doctor, practicing in Markham, Ontario. He uses individualized, comprehensive therapies, which strive towards achieving optimal wellness.  Robert uses natural therapies designed to promote a person’s overall well being by stimulating the body’s own natural defenses against illness.  Healing with whole foods and herbs is a foundation for preservation of life, and emphasizes the founding principles of Naturopathic Medicine.  For more information about Robert, visit www.lifelongwell.ca.

 

Losing Weight is Hard! But it’s Not Impossible.

Whoever said that losing weight is easy?  Believe me, no one has!  But a lot of people may have said that, it is expensive and time consuming.  Oh yes! It really is expensive and it consumes time, a lot of it!

However, due to good marketing strategies and the convincing power of advertisements, people who wish to lose weight settle in buying these products that promise instant weight loss in a matter of days.  Products like exercise machines, diet pills, diet bars, diet drinks, silhouette or fat burning creams to name just a few of the crazy diet products out there.  Some people invest in expensive weight loss programs or pre-packaged meals. And because of the availability of these products and services, people are enticed and want to believe that their hard earned money will not go to waste and that this time it will work.

Not knowing that most of the miracle products that are being advertised mostly don’t work and some even involve great risks.  But a greater and often overlooked risk, involves the emotional risk of another disappointment. This often leads to depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety.  Along with the  emotional risk, it often affects one’s relationship with society as they will have the tendency to  separate and isolate themselves. But, the greatest risk that losing weight could lead people to, would be risking their own lives.  Why is this?  For the fact that overweight individuals try so hard to lose weight, then, they tend to over do things, with starvation diets or extreme exercise.

Massive exercise activities and avoiding meals are both the common misconceptions that people do to find themselves shedding of a few pounds. But doing these two things are a big NO NO for losing weight.  First, NEVER do a mass exercise over the weekend to patch up for the other days of the week.  It is best to be consistent with your exercise routine and rather than excessive which could lead to injury.

Follow these sensible steps when trying to lose weight:

1. Get up and walk around at work if you have a sedentary job

2. Don’t skip or avoiding meals

3. Have several small meals in a day to keep your metabolism functioning

4. Exercise consistently and increase the intensity gradually

5. Eat slowly as this is better for your digestion and you will eat less food

6. Avoid high calorie, processed, sugary, high fat foods

And above all don’t resort to buying those weight loss promising products that promise to burn it without doing much.  They just don’t exist. Set a goal for yourself. write it down and find an accountability partner to keep you committed.

To learn about some of the common diet mistakes and the 7 weight loss myths that keep many people overweight, download my free Consumer’s Guide at http://www.MindBodyFX.com

 

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