Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fixing Faulty Fatloss Fables

The weight loss industry grows by 6% a year and yet the incidence of obesity also increases by 6% every year! Obviously something is not working.

To make matters worse, we are deafened by a cacophony of conflicting dietary advice from the Cookie Diet to the Cabbage Soup Diet and everything in between.

If you’ve found it hard to maintain or lose weight, you need to go beyond the familiar “diet and exercise” mantra.

There are three hidden causes for the obesity epidemic.

  1. The “Overfed / Undernourished” Syndrome

Depleted soil conditions and refining give us nutritionally bankrupt foods which ‘fill’ us without ‘nourishing’ us. This leads to constant hunger at the cellular level.

Solution: Turn to ‘Superfoods’ such as wheat grass and alfalfa sprouts to satisfy your 'cellular' hunger. Voila! You will eat less and feel more satisfied without dieting!

  1. The “Craving-for-Refined-Foods” Syndrome
It is not the lack of willpower, but undiagnosed food allergies that make you crave processed foods high in sugar, flour, yeast or fat. Such foods force the body to protect itself from symptoms such as fatigue and digestive upset by releasing narcotic-like chemicals called opioids that give you a pleasurable feeling. You get addicted to this feeling and unknowingly seek out foods that make you euphoric.

To protect you from these invading food allergens, your fat cells bloat up and act as buffers between the 'toxic' chemicals and your organs.

No amount of dieting will get rid of that stored fat!
Solution: Identify food allergies and get rid of some common culprits such as white flour, white sugar, dairy products, soy products and wheat/gluten.

  1. The “Clogged Liver” Syndrome
Years of eating processed foods clogs the liver, slowing it down, making it hard to perform its vital digestive and energy-balancing functions efficiently.

Solution: Cleanse, detoxify and flush the liver. One simple way is to go on a vegetable juice “fast” for 3 to 5 days. Good vegetables to juice are: carrots, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, green beans, cucumbers, etc. (See a naturopath for more elaborate ways to cleanse the liver).

By including ‘Superfoods’ in your diet, breaking the ‘opioid cycle’ and maintaining a clean liver, you’re health will improve dramatically and the weight will come off effortlessly!

Remember, weight loss should be a pleasant side-effect of getting healthy...and not a goal in itself.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

How to Raise Your ‘Good’ Cholesterol Levels

While cholesterol is a complex substance, most of us are familiar with two of its primary components: LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol).
So far, both doctors and their patients have focused on reducing LDL cholesterol as a key part of their treatment regimen. However, new research at Baylor College of Medicine shows that having too little HDL cholesterol may be more damaging and may even be more predictive of heart disease than LDL.
In fact, in people with heart disease, the most common cholesterol problem is too little HDL.
"Even if their total cholesterol and LDL levels are normal, people with reduced levels of HDL have an increased risk of early coronary artery disease," says Richard N. Fogoros, M.D.
Some good news
Even a slight increase in HDL goes a long way. It's estimated that for every 1 mg/dl increase in HDL cholesterol, there is a 2% to 4% decrease in your risk of coronary heart disease.
Should you use drugs to raise HDL cholesterol?
Drug therapy has been less successful at raising HDL than at reducing LDL cholesterol. Statins in particular, are often quite poor at increasing HDL levels. While some newer statins may increase HDL, these drugs might not be good for people whose LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels are normal because, while raising the HDL, the drug will lower normal LDL and total cholesterol levels.
Before resorting to drugs, first try these proven, natural methods…
12 Strategies to Increase Your HDL
Exercise: Aerobic exercise and strength training can increase your HDL if done correctly and regularly.
Maintain optimal body weight: Obesity can increase LDL cholesterol levels while reducing HDL. Losing weight can help increase HDL.
Don't eat ‘trans fats’: Avoid these unhealthy, artery-clogging fats found in margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods like French fries and fried chicken, doughnuts, cookies, pastries and crackers.
Eat more monounsaturated fats: Increase intake of fats such as olive oil, homemade peanut butter, avocados, etc.
Eat soluble fiber: Found in apples, oranges, berries, seeds, nuts, oat bran, vegetables, etc.
Reduce refined carbohydrates: Like white sugar, white flour and white rice.
Feast on raw onions: Half a raw onion a day may raise HDL levels by as much as 30%.
Alcohol: One or two drinks a day may help to increase HDL levels. An ideal choice is red wine which is rich in antioxidants.
Warning: More than one or two drinks will do more harm than good. Be smart about alcohol…if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it!
Do NOT go on an ultra low-fat diet: Too little fat can be as bad as too much fat in your diet (by creating a deficiency in essential fatty acids). Low-fat diets have been linked to significant reductions in HDL cholesterol. For best results, eat a variety of healthy fats and avoid the bad ones like ‘trans fats’.
Quit smoking: This will increase your HDL levels.
Consider taking niacin: Several studies have found that niacin (vitamin B3) can increase HDL by 30% while lowering total cholesterol by 10% to 25%.
Get lots of omega-3: This essential fatty acid, found in fish, flaxseed and walnuts, can dramatically increase HDL cholesterol.
Increase your HDL levels by using some or all of the above methods. Strive for a HDL level above 60.