Monday, 25 June 2012

The Time Is Now!

Most of you may think to get in shape and drop those unwanted pounds you might need a special diet and/or a top personal trainer. This is definitely not the case I promise you! Sure it would be nice to have these luxuries and it would improve your lifestyle a lot and perhaps give you the added motivation to go that extra mile in your training routine, however don't for a second believe it makes it really easy just because you have these aids to help you along.

Celebrities that wish to change their physique for a role in a movie or just to get that ripped Hollywood look, still have to be willing to put in all the hard work to achieve their goals...A motivator, experience, and a good diet of course helps a lot but unfortunately they cannot do the work for you. This is why many of you need to stop believing that these people have some sort of magic potion that gives them a great body and start believing that you yourself can reach the same fitness goals and have the same sculpted body as an A-list celebrity.

I know many of you have a busy lifestyle, e.g, work, kids, college etc. This is a hurdle for people I agree. Notice how I said "hurdle" and not wall, or barrier, because these are things you can quickly get over if you're really willing to put in the effort. When you make excuses its often just yourself you're lying to so give yourself the respect you deserve and start being honest with yourself!

So... good news and bad news people... The good news is if your ready to stop making excuses and work around your personal obstacles and really make a conscious effort to get where you want to be, then theres a lot of hope for you and I can help you along to get there, but even more importantly you can help yourself!

The bad news is if you're not willing to put in the effort and you're expecting to discover that mythical "magic potion" that gives you that great body without having to work for it, well I'm afraid its just not going to happen!
So... are you ready?... Well if you are then keep checking this site as I will be writing more helpful blog posts and giving my very own inside personal tips to help you get to where you want to be!

Guest post by Joe Louis - Fitness Expert

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Endorphins - A Natural High

Do you ever wonder why you feel better after a long run? That elated feeling, which can last up to 12 hours for some people, has a scientific explanation. It comes from a release of endorphins.

"Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced in the brain that reduce pain," says Alan Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. "They have also been known to induce euphoria." Drugs such as morphine, heroine and cocaine are classic endorphin-releasing entities, according to Dr. Hirsch. But luckily for us, there are less-addictive ways of experiencing such sweet rhapsody.

Eat a chili pepper
Some say eating hot peppers is an addiction. The rush you get after holding one on your tongue is likely due to your body's protective response. "Chewing a hot pepper can release endorphins centrally and on the tongue," says Dr. Hirsch. Why? To reduce pain, of course.
Endorphin factor: 1 to 3, depending on how hot you can stand 'em.

Think positive thoughts
"When people take a placebo and they believe something's helpful, it often works," says Joel Fuhrman, MD, family physician and author of author of books including Eat for Health and Eat to Live. That's a direct result of the power of positive thinking, which can release endorphins that may actually ease pain even if a medication is physically ineffective.Endorphin factor: 2. Hey, that's an instant feel-good moment just by the power of perspective.

Work out
People who jog regularly often talk about a "runner's high," which is a release of endorphins that happens when they hit a certain point in their workout. Dr. Fuhrman notes that the science of endorphins-from-exercise is controversial, and that some medical professionals believe the positive feeling you get when you meet a physical challenge, rather than the exertion itself, is what stimulates the endorphin release. But whatever the cause, exercise has been proven to enhance mood. Dr. Fuhrman recommends prolonged activities such as cross-country skiing, swimming, tennis or a long cardio workout for the best effects. So come on, it's time to try your hand at a new workout routine!
Endorphin factor: 2 to 4. It's all about intensity and duration.

Have an orgasm
"I personally think that having an orgasm is a great way to get a rush of endorphins," says Dr. Fuhrman. "You may have to run for an hour to get a runner's high, depending on your body. Sex is less effort." (And, ahem, much more fun.)Endorphin factor: 5, even if it's a quickie.

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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Red Raspberries: An All-Natural Cancer Preventative?

In this week's featured healthy natural ingredient, we'll be taking a closer look at a very common berry, the red raspberry. More specifically, we'll be talking about the value of including berries in your diet because of the benefits of the ellagitannins derived from them. This recommendation was based on work being done at the Hollings Cancer Institute by Dr. Daniel Nixon, who had been studying the benefits of red raspberries for some 6 years at that time. Since then, two things have changed dramatically.
  • First, the study results are now becoming, for lack of a better word, remarkable.
  • Second, it is now possible to get high quantities of ellagitannins without having to consume a cup of berries every day.
Dr. Nixon's published results show:
  • Consuming one cup of red raspberries per day (40 mg of ellagitannins) prevents the development of cancer cells. At low concentrations, it slows the growth of cancer cells; at higher concentrations, it tells cancer cells to kill themselves. For example, cells infected with the human papilloma virus (which is linked to cervical cancer), when exposed to ellagic acid experienced apoptosis, or normal cell death. Note: although ellagic acid alone has been shown to inhibit carcinogenesis in vitro (in a test tube with isolated cancer cells), several studies have reported that the other phenolic compounds in the berries also contribute to the observed inhibitory effect. Those compounds are only present in a complete ellagitannin complex, not in a synthetic ellagic acid isolate. In other words, an ellagitannin complex works better than pure ellagic acid.
  • Red raspberry ellagitannins slow the growth of abnormal colon cells in humans.
  • Tests reveal similar results for breast, pancreas, esophageal, skin, and prostate cancer cells. The ellagitannins also produce a breakdown in human leukemia cells.
  • Another way that ellagitannins protect your body is through G-Arrest. G-Arrest means that the ellagitannins stop cells from mutating in the first place. If cells don't mutate, then we don't get cancer. This is very important when you understand that that every single day of your life you produce anywhere from a few hundred to as many as 10,000 cancerous cells in your body as part of your normal metabolism. In tests conducted by the Hollings Cancer Institute with Ellagic Acid, G-Arrest began in 72 hours in both breast and cervical cancer.
  • Red raspberry ellagitannins prevent destruction of the P53 gene by cancer cells. P53 prevents mutagenic activity in cervical cells.
  • Red raspberry ellagitannins protect human cells against cancer-causing agents in tobacco smoke, food additives, and petroleum-based substances. Ellagitannins act as scavengers to "bind" cancer-causing chemicals, making them inactive. The ellagitannins inhibit the ability of other chemicals to cause mutations in bacteria. Red Raspberry ellagitannins also protect DNA by blocking carcinogens from binding to the DNA.
  • European medical studies also demonstrate that red raspberry ellagitannins lower the incidence of birth defects, promote wound healing, reduce heart disease, and may reduce or reverse chemically induced liver fibrosis. In addition, the ellagic acid produced from the ellagitannins has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
Which brings us to the question of how to supplement with red raspberries. To be sure, Dr. Nixon used 1 cup of red raspberry puree per day in his studies. However, that is not practical for most people. Fortunately, it turns out the raspberry seeds have a much higher concentration of ellagitannins than the puree.

Seeds Pulp Whole
Meeker 8.40 3.36 4.31
Chilliwack 7.78 2.58 3.39
Willamette 8.13 2.05 2.91
Average 8.10 2.66 3.54

As you can see in the above table from the Washington State Red Raspberry Commission, over 70% of the ellagitannins present in the Meeker red raspberry are found in the seeds.

Bottom Line

One gram of red raspberry seed powder, taken twice a day, provides 40 mg of ellagitannins -- equivalent to the amount of ellagitannins found in one cup of fresh red raspberries.

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The Benefits of a Junk Food Ban

The state of California passed a law in 2007 that placed restrictions on junk foods sold in vending machines and as cafeteria extras in the schools. The intention was to help students cut back on calories consumed from junk foods and possibly get a little healthier. A new study followed up on the outcome so far, and found that these pioneering lawmakers did in fact do the kids of California a positive service.

The research, which took place at the University of Illinois at Chicago, discovered that high school students in California have a lower caloric intake and are eating less fat and sugar -- at least during school hours -- than their counterparts elsewhere in the country. And even if it makes no impact on their food consumption outside of school, it has enough of an influence to reduce their overall daily calorie count.

The scientists analyzed data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the eating habits of 680 high school students in California and 14 states that have no restrictions on the foods sold in school. Of all the states considered, the kids of California have the lowest average daily calorie count, as well as the lowest for consumption of fat and added sugars. It stands to reason that changes in their school day diets made a large part of the difference, since their daily calorie consumption from school food was lower than that of students elsewhere. California high schoolers received approximately 21.5 percent of their daily calories at school, while other states averaged 28.4 percent.

Since their overall caloric intake is almost 160 calories less on average than the typical teenager in another state, it would seem that they are not going hungry or eating more when they go home to make up the difference. And this 160 calories or so every single day adds up. In a five-day school week, that's 800 fewer calories consumed. Considering that every 3500 calories equals a pound of extra body weight, we're talking about almost one pound not gained a month, or 12 pounds a year. And over 3 years of high school, that's a difference of 36 pounds in extra body weight not gained. Over time, it's small changes and cutbacks such as these that may be the key to preventing obesity.

California has been working hard to limit the junk foods its children have access to for years. The state has prohibited soft drinks from being sold, first in elementary schools then later in high schools as well. But even in a forward-thinking, health-minded state such as California, there are plenty of improvements that can still be made. In actuality, the junk food ban is not a true ban. It's not that snacks devoid of nutrition are outlawed; they simply have to come in below a certain threshold in fat and calorie counts. So these kids are eating lighter to be sure, but not necessarily healthier. Instead of a bag of greasy, full-fat potato chips, they are getting baked chips. Much lower in calories, but still 100%, high-glycemic, non-nutritional, empty calories and made with lots of added chemical junk.

But back to the positive side, anything that can make a dent in childhood obesity figures is good news. It's estimated that childhood obesity ultimately costs as much as $100 billion a year in the United States alone. When the effort is made, however, the benefits start to appear, as they have in California. And the California results merely confirm an experiment that took place on the other side of the country, in Somerville, Massachusetts. In 2002, a professor at nearby Tufts University started a program called Shape Up Somerville. The community got on board and started making improvements in various health-related areas. They hired more crossing guards and repainted town crosswalks, which increased the number of children walking to school by five percent. The schools started offering fresh produce every day for breakfast and lunch and removed many high calorie items such as French fries from their menus. Many local restaurants joined in and began providing half-portion options. Five years after it was begun, residents reported that they were very happy with the results. And the research showed that 8-year-olds in Somerville had slowed their weight gains by approximately a pound over each eight months school year.

These are the kinds of changes that add up over time. Plus, it starts teaching our youth at an early age little ways to make their lifestyles more healthy for years to come.

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Obesity Affects Pregnancy Risk

What makes a high risk pregnancy? You might be guessing some pre-existing condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes, or maybe age, as more women are starting families later in life. However, obesity might not immediately spring to mind. After all, who isn't overweight now? Yet new research shows that obesity pregnancy may be among the most important of variables when it comes to complications during delivery.

The study, conducted at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, found that even first time mothers over the age of 40 had fewer pregnancy-related problems if they were at a healthy weight before conceiving than obese women their age. In fact, they were very similar in statistics to younger pregnant women when compared by weight.

The researchers analyzed information on more than 53,000 women who took part in a pregnancy risk assessment and education program between 2006 and 2011 that was sponsored by a health management company. The records were then divided into four groups that included obese women between the ages of 20 and 29 with an average body mass index (BMI) of 35, obese women with an average age of 41 and an average BMI of 35, non-obese women between the ages of 20 and 29 with an average BMI of 23, and non-obese women with an average age of 41 and an average BMI of almost 24. A BMI under 25 is considered healthy weight, 25-29.9 is reckoned as overweight, and a BMI of 30 or more is indicative of obesity.

All of the older women in the study were more likely to have a C-section, perhaps because many obstetricians worry about those malpractice lawsuits. Since age is "considered" a risk factor for complications in delivery, they don't want to take any chances. But although 55 percent of older women gave birth by C-section (and that is undoubtedly a high number), a whopping 69 percent of the obese older women had C-sections. That's more than two-thirds of the women in that age group!

Another major problem for the obese women studied was gestational diabetes. The older women at obese weights were diagnosed with gestational diabetes at a rate three times that of the women in the same age category who were slimmer. More than 21 percent of the older obese women developed this condition as opposed to less than seven percent of their healthy-weight counterparts. While it wasn't as prevalent among younger women, gestational diabetes was still a problem for close to nine percent of the obese women in their 20s, while it affected less than four percent of the normal-BMI younger women.

And no matter their age, obese women were more likely to suffer from preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition in which protein collects in the urine and blood pressure becomes elevated. Obese women were found to have preeclampsia twice as frequently as those at a healthy body weight.

The bad news doesn't end there for pregnant women who are obese, either. A study last year at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta found that stroke rates for women who are pregnant, or have just given birth, increased an immense 54 percent over the course of 13 years between 1994 and 2007. Why? Mainly because there are a lot more women who already have high blood pressure and heart disease before they even conceive a child. Approximately 20 percent of the women in American today are obese when they become pregnant, which is a major factor in both ailments. And now, recent studies indicate that maybe even autism is linked to obesity during pregnancy.

The obvious course of action for any obese woman at any age thinking of trying to become pregnant would seem to be to lose weight. Eating a healthy, nutritious diet and exercising regularly will help to steadily shed those excess pounds and lower the BMI as well as the risk for so many illnesses, during the gestation period and after. Despite recent trends in political correctness, it's essential to take the term obesity to heart as an actual medical definition -- not an insult -- so you can get your health on track for many years ahead with your future family.

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The Health Benefits of Wheatgrass

Our healthy ingredient of the week should be very familiar to smoothie and juice lovers. Wheatgrass is young grass in the wheat family that grows in moderate climates throughout the United States and Europe. It is sold in a variety of forms from fresh grass to dietary supplements. Wheatgrass has been called one of nature's finest medicines. Its benefits are enormous. These include:
  • Reduces high blood pressure
  • Helps stop tooth decay
  • Enhances hemoglobin production
  • Neutralizes toxins and carcinogens in the body
  • Cleans drug deposits from the body
  • Purifies the liver
  • Improves blood sugar disorders
  • Improves the body's capability to heal wounds
  • Helps digestion process
  • Helps address the graying process of hair
  • Removes heavy metals from the body
  • Helps with acne
  • Helps eczema
  • Soothes sore throats
  • Improves strength & endurance
  • Purifies the blood
  • Rebuilds the blood stream
  • Enhances the action of the capillaries
If these benefits weren’t enough, it’s also a good source of some vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, amino acids, chlorophyll, enzymes, phytonutrients, and vitamins A, C and E 1 – all essential for a healthy body. Its popularity makes it a very common additive to smoothies.

Wheatgrass is available in a variety of forms including tablets, capsules, liquid extracts, and tinctures. And then there’s the old standby – you can buy the wheat berries, grow it yourself in trays, and then run it through a wheatgrass juicer. It’s surprisingly sweet. If you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or are allergic to wheat or grass, you should consult your doctor before using wheatgrass.

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Energy Drinks May Be Harmful to Teeth

Those energy drinks that provide a pick-me-up in the afternoon just might be doing serious damage to your teeth. And the sports drinks that quench your thirst after a workout aren't much better. By wearing away your tooth enamel over time (and we're not talking about sugar here), a new study suggests that these drinks may increase your risk of developing cavities and other dental problems.

The research was carried out at the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine in Alton. The scientists included a total of 22 drinks in their testing: 13 different sports drinks and nine different energy drinks. They measured both the potency of their acidity and whether it affects tooth enamel. As it turns out, there is a range in the acidity of the drinks not only by brand but also by flavors within a brand. The worst offenders? Of the sports drinks tested, Gatorade Blue has the highest level of acidity, followed by Hydr8. As for the energy drinks tested, Red Bull Sugar Free is the most acidic, followed by Monster Assault.

The next portion of the experiment dealt with analyzing the effects of these drinks on actual enamel from extracted human teeth. The enamel sections were submerged in containers holding samples of six different drinks to test for enamel loss; three brands of sports drinks and three brands of energy drinks. The sports drinks included were Propel Grape, Gatorade Rain, and Powerade Option, and the energy drinks were 5-Hour Energy, Monster Assault, and Red Bull.

To create the conditions most similar to real-life exposure, the researchers kept the enamel in the drink samples for a 15-minute interval. It was then removed and placed in a container of artificial saliva for two hours. Over the course of five days, this was done four times a day to approximate the experience of people who consume these drinks throughout their day on a regular basis. Despite the beverage industry's claim that no one would keep the drink in their mouth for 15 minutes at a time, in truth, this probably closely represents what our mouths would be subjected to if consuming one of these drinks in a 15-minute time frame. Our teeth might not be immersed for 15 minutes straight, but the residue would certainly linger there and be continually refreshed as we took repeated sips.

By the end of the five-day period, there was erosion to every single enamel sample. The sports drinks, on average, wore away about 1.5 percent of the enamel. The energy drinks averaged more than 3 percent lost enamel. That's after just five days of regular consumption. Imagine what happens when people have these drinks several times a day every day for months…or years. And there is no way to regenerate enamel. This type of damage requires fillings to prevent cavities from forming or, if it's extensive, crowns to restore the tooth.

Energy drinks are also chockfull of caffeine, which is their appeal for most people. The majority of them average 70 to 80 mg of caffeine per eight ounces, which is only a little less than a typical cup of brewed coffee. However, one of the drinks tested, 5-Hour Energy, contains a whopping 207 mg of caffeine in just one little, two-ounce bottle. (No wonder it helps you "find the energy.") So these drinks are not just highly acidic and dentally damaging, but they can easily send your body into caffeine overload -- especially if you are getting caffeine from other sources such as coffee, tea, or soda as well.

And sports drinks, for all their advertising suggesting they provide essential nutrients necessary to replenish your body, really just add plenty of calories and not much else other than a handful of electrolytes that you can get from a number of more healthful sources. Studies have shown that while food calories "register" in the brain, limiting the amount of food you desire, liquid sugar calories somehow don't register. Liquids move more quickly through the digestive system and provide no nutrients and thus fail to trigger the normal satiety signals, causing an increase in overall caloric consumption.

So, with neither energy drinks nor sports drinks providing any particular benefit that you can't get from a better source, it's probably best to skip them in favor of water (or small doses of tea or coffee if it's the caffeine you are seeking). None of these drinks offer anything worth risking your dental health…or your ability to get a good night's sleep.

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Monday, 11 June 2012

20 Motivational Wallpapers

Here we have a selection of posters/wallpapers for you to take inspiration from. Why not choose a favourite to add as your desktop wallpaper - there's plenty to choose from!


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