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Monday, March 30, 2009

The Importance of Healthy Eating

Have you ever heard the saying you are what you eat? In some sense, this is true, because if you eat unhealthy foods you are prone to be an unhealthy person. The foods we ingest are extremely important to our ability to grow, maintain function, and prevent illness. Therefore, if you value your health, you should learn as much about healthy eating as possible.

Healthy eating is important from the day we are born. As a child, we grow quite rapidly and this is due in part to the foods we eat. Foods all contain nutrients that provide us not only with fuel to live our daily lives, but also with the very substances that build our bones, muscles, and organ tissues. Not getting enough of one nutrient or another can cause a variety of problems, including stunting our growth. For mothers who are nursing, nutrition is important because breast milk contains the nutrients a child needs to grow and develop properly. Upon growing older, these nutrients are then found in food, but don’t think that healthy eating isn’t important for growth after you’ve gone through puberty. Cells continuous break down and rebuild, so healthy eating for growth continues to be important until the day we die.

Maintaining function is also not important without healthy eating. In out daily lives, we use energy to think, walk, talk, breathe, and perform any other action. The energy it takes our body to do these things comes from two places: fat reserves in the body or our daily food intake. If you don’t eat healthy foods, you will find that you are storing more fat that necessary or that you aren’t getting enough and you feel sluggish or weak. Along with energy-providing nutrients, like fats and carbohydrates, we also need the right nutrients to allow our organs to do their jobs. Hormones and other substances in the body make sure that everything is working properly. If you don’t eat the right nutrients, your body cannot produce these hormones and, as a result, cannot function properly.

Lastly, healthy eating is important in order to prevent illness. When we do not get the right nutrients, or body’s natural defense system against diseases weakens, allowing viruses and bacteria to attack the body. It’s like a well-trained army—if the army doesn’t have enough to eat, it will not do well in battle. Without healthy foods and plenty of water, our bodies simply could not operate on a day-to-day basis. Learning how to eat healthy foods is therefore and important lesson, and one which we should begin learning as children.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Vitamins for Your Mental Health

Vitamins help you body in a number of different ways. However many people do not realize that vitamins are also crucial for helping the health of your mind. Depression is one of the many mental illnesses that can really help to ruin a person’s life if left untreated. If you are hoping to deal with your depression in a way that is healthy to your body but does not include the use of drugs, you might want to gain a better understand of just how vitamins can work for your depression. Vitamin supplements can help you fight your depression.

First and foremost, study the B vitamins. B-complex vitamins are essential to your well-being, including your mental and emotional health. They are water-soluble, which means that they cannot be stored in the body over time to be used at a later date, and so you must eat foods rich in B vitamins every day or take vitamin supplements. B-vitamins that could cause or add to your depression include thiamin, which provides energy to your brain, and pantothenic acid, which is crucial in the formation of certain hormones that suppress depression. Most other B vitamins affect your mental and emotional state as well, and because they are broken down in the body by alcohol and sugar, many people find it a struggle to eat enough food rich in the B vitamins. You should talk to your doctor about vitamin supplements in these areas in order to treat your depression.

Vitamin C is also extremely important in the fight against depression. Normal levels are usually easy to achieve in the body, but you might find that you need a boost from vitamin supplements if you have recently have surgery or an inflammatory illness. Lack of vitamin C is common if you are stressed or pregnant, so be particularly mindful of your depression during these times of life.

A variety of minerals, like magnesium, calcium, and zinc can also help you to fight your depression. The bottom line is that it is important for you to talk to a doctor if you believe that you are depressed. Vitamin supplements and medical care can help you to fight depression in many cases. You doctor will be able to recommend brands that are of high quality and instruct you on how to take the vitamin supplements so that your body can get all of the nutrients it needs to stay happy and healthy, both physically and mentally.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Great Ways to Fail at Weight Loss

Millions of people in America are trying to lose weight without much success. There are many reasons for this failure, although most would rather give up than fix their mistakes. Weight loss is hard! Without a little patience and knowledge about nutrition and exercise, your best weight loss plan may crumble. Learning the top reasons why weight loss plans fails is important so that you do not make these mistakes in your own life.

First, many weight loss plans fail because the people trying to lose weight follow too strict of a diet. When you cut back your calories, you will burn more than you eat, so you’ll lose weight, right? If you do this gradually, then yes, it works like a charm. However, if you suddenly cut too many, you won’t lose any weight at all because you metabolism will slow down. You also put yourself at danger for not getting enough for the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients you need every single day in order to stay healthy.

Another common mistake is trying to go at weight loss alone. Everything you do regarding weight loss, from dieting to exercising, will be a hundred times easier if you have a partner because you will push each other not to quit. Working with a support system on a large scale is also important. Your friends and family should know that you are attempting to lose weight so that they can help you on the process and not tempt you by doing things like baking you cookies or taking up your gym time. Also, remember that professionals, like doctors and trainers, should come into the weight loss plan to help you shed the pounds.

Setting unrealistic goals is another good way to fail at a weight loss plan. When you set goals that you can’t easily reach, you push yourself to move forward and will feel successful even if you fall short. However, when you set impossible goals, you will find that you are easily frustrated. Don’t weigh in every day, don’t completely cut out all of the foods you eat on a regular basis, and don’t exercise to much right away. Gradually build up to reaching the goals you really want for your life, but smart out with smaller ideas.

Lastly, simply know yourself. Weight loss plans fail when you attempt to be something you are not. Maybe you have wide hips—a weight lose plan won’t completely change that, for example. You have to be happy with yourself on the inside before you change things on the outside in order to succeed at losing weight.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

History of Vitamin

Vitamins and nutritional supplements have been around for quite some time. They represent a multi-billion dollar business for each year, and each year the business simply gets bigger. Their success is due in part to the fact that people have been constantly searching for ways to get themselves more healthy and more in control of their lives for some time. Many people all over the world now rely on vitamin and nutritional supplements taken daily in order to get the vitamins and minerals that they need to get in their lives.

Even though people have been turning to vitamins and mineral supplements for a long time, they have become more and more popular since 1994, which is when Congress voted to change the Food and Drug Administrations regulations of nutritional supplements. Since then, the industry has boomed, meaning that every mall and store in America has vitamins and minerals pretty much at anyone’s disposal. People all over are looking towards self-medicating with vitamins and minerals in order to be healthy. The good thing about it is that they are trying to be healthy. Some problems might arise when people realize that they don’t know a lot about vitamins and minerals, and without a doctor to prescribe them, it might not be as easy to be healthy as they at first thought.

When taken correctly, and when taken by the right people at the right time in their lives, there can be a lot of benefit to vitamins and minerals being taken as supplements. As long as people don’t overdo it, there is really no harm in taking the vitamins that are needed for good body growth and for good cell growth.

However, even today there are arguments within the medical community about whether or not vitamin supplements are really important and whether or not people should be taking them for their health. The fact of the matter is that they contain things that are good for our bodies, but these things might be already coming from somewhere, so having too much of them might actually be harmful. This is where the speculations lie about whether or not they are good for you.

In order to really know if vitamin and mineral supplements are going to benefit your family, you should check with your local doctor. He or she will be able to give you the information that you need to make educated conclusions about the usefulness of vitamins and minerals for you.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Why You Need Protein

When learning about healthy eating, one of the most important nutrients is protein. Of course, all nutrients are crucial for our bodies to be as healthy as possible, but without protein in our diets every single day, our bodies will not be as strong as they should be. Protein can be found in a number of food sources, so if you’re interested in eating a healthier diet, you should consider learning more about protein.

We need to eat foods rich in protein every day because, unlike some other nutrients, it cannot be stored in the body. That means that if you eat more protein than necessary, your body will simply cause it to pass through your system. Therefore, you really can’t eat too much protein! However, because protein cannot be stored in the body problems may arise surrounding this nutrient as well. If you don’t get enough protein on any given day, your body has no back-up plan for producing protein on its own or using reserved protein from previous days. Therefore, protein is very important to consider when you are planning your meals.

Essentially, protein builds muscles, which is why you will see bodybuilders especially concerned with protein. When you lift weights to work out, you body makes tiny tears in the muscles. Proteins are then used to repair these healthy tears in the body, building the muscle slightly bigger with every workout. Even if you do not work out, your body’s muscle deteriorates, as you body needs the energy. Muscle provides energy, just like fat. Having protein in the body helps you to rebuild any muscle lost.

Protein also helps a person’s body in other ways, mainly with the maintenance of hormones. Hormones in the body do a number of things, such as regulate organ function, account for stimulation, create metabolism, and affect mood. Proteins are used in the making of some of these different hormones, so if you go more than a day or two without eating foods rich in proteins, your entire body will suffer.

How can you make sure that you re getting enough proteins? Simply put, look for foods with protein as a key component on the label. Some great foods to consider include chicken, beef, pork, eggs, and fish, although vegetarians can also get proteins into their diets by eating nuts, beans, soy products, and a variety of other foods. You should have some of these foods in your diet every single day to ensure that you are providing your body with the proteins it needs to stay healthy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Five Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

If you’re working on a weight loss plan, one of the most difficult times of year can be the holidays. Around Christmas and New Years, the parties and meals you’ll attend will include foods that are high in fat and calories and low in nutrition. Fortunately, by following these five tips you can stick to your weight loss plan even as visions of sugarplums dance in your head.

First, avoid the alcohol. Cocktails and beer are usually served at holiday parties, but they can be full of calories. When you drink, you also have a decreased will power when it comes to saying no to other holiday foods and your appetite will be stimulate, so you’ll eat even more than you normally would eat at a party. Having one drink on a special occasion may be fine, but don’t overdo it every time you head out to celebrate the season.

Another great tip to stick to your plan during the holiday season is to show up fashionably late after you’ve already eaten a meal. If you do this, you won’t feel pressured to eat an entire meal of junk foods or snack on cookie or hot chocolate. Of course, showing up late may be insulting at smaller parties, so make sure you are not rude to the party host.

Use the holidays to get outside as well. You can play in the snow if the weather allows, which actually burns tons of calories. Walking up the hill to sled and having a snowball fight are great ways to get your heart pumping as well as work off those candy canes.

If the weather isn’t cold or snowy, use your time to head to the mall. When gift shopping, make a number of laps around the mall and take the stairs instead of the escalator. Keep this in mind at parties as well—get up and move around as much as possible. Christmas caroling is also a great way to stay off of your rear. This will allow you to do some walking while spreading the holiday cheer.

Lastly, avoid gifts of food. Of course, you can’t tell people what to buy for you, but if you find yourself with a bunch of brownies or boxes or chocolates, why not share the love? You can take these products into work or even donate unopened items to your local food bank. These tips keep you staying slim, every as you’re surrounded by goodies.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Eating Healthy for your Heart

Your heart is one of the most important organs in the body, and the foods you put into your mouth effect how your heart operates. If you want your heart to be strong and able to pump blood as well as possible all over your body, it is important for you to eat a healthy diet. Heart-healthy foods are readily available in the supermarket, so choose some that work for your personal likes and you should be able to help prevent heart disease in your own body.

Cholesterol is the most important thing when it comes to eating heart-healthy foods. There are both good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Good cholesterol are called HDL, and their job in the body is to take excess bad cholesterol (LDL) to the liver, where it can be broken down and then will leave the body. LDL is actually not needed by your body at all from foods. Our bodies make enough of this kind of cholesterol on its own. It is the LDL cholesterol that hurts our hearts, not the HDL cholesterol, which actually helps our hearts be reducing the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body.

LDL stands for low-density lipoproteins. Because this substance has a low density, it does not flow through the blood stream as readily as it should. The red blood cells easily release the LDL cholesterol and it sticks to the walls of your blood vessels, especially in the arteries leading to your heart. This is bad for a number of reasons.

First, when the LDL cholesterol builds up on your arteries, it reduces the amount of blood that can fit through at a time, since the artery becomes smaller. That means your heart has to pump harder and faster in order to allow the same amount of blood to flow through your body. Over time, this makes your heart tired and not as strong. In the worst-case scenario, the blood vessel becomes so built up with LDL cholesterol that your artery could close completely. When this happens, your heart essentially panics because it is not getting the blood it needs and it starts beating rapidly to try to pump the blood. This causes a heart attack.

You can also have a heart attack from LDL cholesterol build up if a piece of the build-up, called plaque, breaks off and floats down the blood stream. When it reaches a smaller part of the blood vessel, it will get stuck and block the blood, which again causes a heart attack. If the piece of plaque travels to the brain instead of the heart, it will cause a blockage in this area of the body, which in turn causes a stroke. Therefore, it is simply important to cut out of your diet the foods high in cholesterol so that you can prevent heart disease and other problems in the body.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Don’t Forget Your Lower Body: Aerobic Targeting

When it comes right down to it, we all want to get healthier. You might not know it, but aerobics are going to be one of the best things you can do so that you can truly get healthier. Just think of the time that you spend worrying about how you look, or even the time that you end up sad and depressed about something in your life! If you can fill this time with aerobics, not only is it going to be beneficial for you, it is going to help you in more ways than simply your health.

However, sometimes you want to work on a part of your body in a way that makes it stronger. Many times the workouts that we create for ourselves simply have an idea to focus on your whole body. This can be great, because aerobics are something that can work well for your whole body. But many people have an area of their body that they would like to target, and so it is sometimes good to target just a piece of you.

Our lower body can be something that we want to work on. Your legs and rear end are parts of you that have to be strong because they are what get you through each and every day. You have to be able to have endurance when it comes to walking and running, and a lot of people don’t like the way that their legs or rear end look and want to change this by working out.

There are many things that we can do to strengthen our lower body while we are working out. Everyone should know that while you are doing aerobics you should be moving your legs constantly. The repetitions of whatever you are doing for your aerobic workout, such as walking or running, should be done in such a way so that your leg muscles are moving to their maximum potential. It is important to get your heart pumping!

A great way to increase the amount of work that your legs are doing, and therefore make them stronger, is to get leg weights to attach to yourself as you work out. This means that you’ll be able to be stronger because you’ll have to exert more force to move your legs and your ankles. This is a great way to make sure that your aerobic workouts target your legs and your lower body. Don’t forget to target all areas of your body when working out.