What to Eat Before and After Exercise

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Are you running on empty every time you hit the gym? The food you eat before and after your workouts can either minimize or maximize your athletic performance. Whether you prefer a brisk morning walk or an empowering Pilates class, it is important to give your body the nutrients it needs. Make sure to fuel your tank to keep your engines running long and strong with the following tips. Read more  »

Easy Ways to Get Your Daily Dose of Good Fats

healthy-oils

Fat has often been looked down on as one of the unhealthy parts of food. But fat comes in several different types, only some of which are unhealthy. Healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids or any of the monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats play a key role in the health of your brain and your body’s cells. Many have been found to have a positive effect on the health of a variety of organs including the brain and heart. Here are a few easy ways to get your daily dose of good fats. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Social Media, Insomnia and Exercise

Online weight-loss programs help, but only if you’re involved. There are plenty of weight-loss programs online with communities of fellow dieters to help you along. But a new study out this week has found you’ll get the most out of it if you make an effort to be involved. “Scientists looked at 5,400 people who participated in an online weight-loss program for at least six months and who posted their weight-loss progress at least twice during the study period.” The team found that how connected a person was to other members of the community played a key role in how much weight a person lost. “People who did not have any friends in the online community saw a 4.1 percent decrease in their body weight, on average. On the other hand, those in clusters made up of two to nine friends experienced a 5.2 percent decrease in body weight. The people who were in the largest cluster of friends within the network saw a 6.8 percent decrease in body weight. Deeply embedded members with a high number of friends experienced an 8.3 percent decrease in body weight.” (CBS)

Trouble sleeping may indicate high blood pressure. Sleep troubles have been linked to a variety of diseases and now high blood pressure has been added to the list. “The authors studied about 300 adults, including more than 200 chronic insomniacs who’d had trouble sleeping for at least six months. They all spent one night in the hospital and took a sleepiness/alertness test the following day. The next day, they were given four 20-minute nap opportunities throughout the day.” The researchers looked to see how long it took each person to fall asleep during their naps and also took blood pressure readings. “For chronic insomniacs, the longer it took to fall asleep when they tried to nap during the day, the more likely they were to have high blood pressure. Compared to normal sleepers who fell asleep quickly, insomniacs who took more than 14 minutes to fall asleep during the day were three times as likely to have high blood pressure readings or a doctor’s diagnosis of hypertension.” If you have chronic insomnia, you should consider having your blood pressure measured at your next appointment. (Reuters)

Exercisers move more when they’re not exercising, which keeps weight off. Exercise and weight training has proven to help dieters keep off lost weight. Past research hadn’t given much insight into why exactly this might be, so a new team investigated what might be going on. “They recruited 100 overweight women and had them follow an 800-calorie diet. The women also completed an array of tests to determine their starting body composition, metabolic rate, non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or N.E.A.T. (a measure of how much energy people use to move around without formally exercising), and walking economy. A third of the women were asked not to exercise. Another third began a supervised aerobic exercise program, consisting of about 40 minutes of walking or jogging on a treadmill at a brisk pace three times a week. The final third started supervised upper- and lower-body weight training three times per week.” After losing 25 pounds, the women were put on a diet that would keep them at the same weight and maintained their exercise regimen. Unlike the women who didn’t exercise, “exercising women held closer to their level of N.E.A.T. movement before the weight loss and some women, especially those who lifted weights, increased how much they moved.” The study reveals that the benefits of exercise extend well beyond the time spent working out, which contributes directly to whether weight stays off in the long run. (NYT)

How the Cost of Your Meds Affects Whether You Get Better

paying drugs medication pharmacyOne of the major influencers of cost at the pharmacy is whether or not a drug is a generic.  Drugs start their lives as name brand medications sold by the companies that developed them, but after years of sale the drug patent expires and generic drug makers move in. While generics are supposed to be the same as their name brand counterparts, some people will swear by the name brand over the generic. There are many reasons a name brand might appear to work better than the generic, but a new study this week has revealed that the perceived cost of a drug may play a key role. Read more  »

Introducing Total Choice: The Easiest Way to Lose Weight

woman reading computer coookingIf you’re like the millions of other Americans who have tried The Total 10 Rapid Weight-Loss Plan, you’re probably about to start February at least a few pounds of lighter than you were at the beginning of January. That’s great news for your health. Study after study has shown that even small amounts of weight loss can lower your risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

But I don’t want those gains to stop. The Total 10 Rapid Weight-Loss Plan showed you that you could lose weight. Now we’ve developed a plan that will pick up where The Total 10 left off. It’s called The Total Choice Plan, and it’s designed to help you continue to lose weight and maintain the losses you’ve already seen this year. I want to take some time to explain how The Total Choice Plan works. Read more  »

Overtaking Stress Before It Overtakes You

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When it comes to health and well-being, most people tend to focus on diet and exercise. Recently, though, I’ve been getting a lot more questions about stress. That’s a good thing. Chronic stress can undermine all our good intentions and healthy habits. Stress can be overwhelming because it plays with our minds and our bodies. It convinces us it’s fine to take another drag of that cigarette or that we can have another glass of wine or that we deserve that doughnut because of all we’ve been through. A stressful state makes true well-being nearly impossible and prevents us from thinking straight. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Cholesterol, Insulin and Oatmeal

The longer you have high cholesterol, the worse it is for you. You’ve probably heard that high cholesterol is bad for your heart, but doctors have just gained a new understanding of how your risk for heart disease can change depending on how long your cholesterol is high. “Having high cholesterol in your 30s and 40s increases your risk for heart disease, and the longer it stays elevated, the greater the risk. A study recorded how many years each of the subjects had had elevated cholesterol levels. After controlling for sex, smoking, diabetes and other conditions that influence heart disease risk, the study found that cardiovascular disease rates increased 4.4 percent with age for those who had never had elevated cholesterol, 8.1 percent for those who had had it for one to 10 years, and 16.5 percent for those who had had it for 11 to 20 years.” The study didn’t look at what the effects of treating this early high cholesterol would be, but researchers are hoping to start new studies in the future to see how changing cholesterol levels early on, either with lifestyle or with medications, might affect this heart disease risk. (NYT)

Insulin may be used as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. Diabetics commonly take insulin to control their blood sugar, but new research indicates that it may also help Alzheimer’s patients. “The study randomly assigned 60 adults with mild cognitive impairment or mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease to be given, via nasal spray, 20- or 40-milligram doses of insulin detemir (Levemir), a man-made insulin that is acts in the body longer than natural insulin or a placebo daily for three weeks. Standardized tests given at the start and end of the study showed that working memory, sometimes thought of as short-term memory, improved for those given 40 milligrams of insulin but not for those given the smaller dose or the placebo.” The study is the first to show that insulin improves memory and may be helpful in those with early dementia. While the results are promising, “the study involved a relatively small number of participants and lasted a short time; a larger and longer study would be needed to adequately test effectiveness and safety.” But because insulin is already known to be safe, it could move into regular use for Alzheimer’s sooner than most drugs. (Washington Post)

You should pick oatmeal over the frosted flakes. Deciding what to get for breakfast at the supermarket can be a daunting task since cereal companies have used flashy marketing to draw your eyes away from the more traditional options. But new research indicates oatmeal should probably be your breakfast staple. “Scientists randomly assigned 36 people to each receive three different breakfasts: quick-cook oatmeal, sugared corn flakes or 1.5 cups of water. They asked participants to rate their hunger and fullness before and after the breakfast and periodically until a lunch test meal 3 hours later.” The researchers then measured how much the participants ate at lunch and checked on their blood hormones to see how their body responded to the food. “The results showed higher ratings of fullness, lower ratings of hunger, and 31% fewer calories consumed at lunch after eating oatmeal compared to sugared corn flakes or water. Overweight subjects, in particular, felt more full and ate 50% fewer calories at lunch after eating oatmeal.” The authors think the effect is a result of the way the body digests oatmeal. Compared to frosted flakes, oatmeal is released into the intestines for digestion more slowly than frosted flakes. That means you feel full longer and feel less of a need to gorge at lunch. (Press release)

Scientists Use Light to Find Thirst Center in the Brain

woman drinking water bottle beachThirst is one of those things you probably never think about. You just feel thirsty and fix it by getting a glass of water. When you quench your thirst, you stop drinking and pay little attention to why the thirsty feeling stopped. But it’s taken researchers years to figure out exactly where in the brain this is happening. A team finally pinpointed it in mice, and the location is likely to be similar or the same in humans. Read more  »