Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24,2014

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"There are six components of wellness: proper weight and diet, proper exercise, breaking the smoking habit, control of alcohol, stress management and periodic exams."
-Kenneth H. Copper, M.D.

Hormones and Weight Control

Hormones are biochemical  products produced by glands and there are approximately 50 of them in the human body.  There will be more found as research progresses.  They are transported by the circulatory system to distant target organs where they regulate many physiological and chemical activities. They help regulate metabolism, digestion, sleep, respiration, excretion, stress, growth and are involved in all functions of living.  

With regard to weight control, Leptin, a hormone,  is involved in body fat in that it is a strong suppressor of one's appetite.  It is produced in fat cells.  Leptin works with other hormones such as thyroid, cortisol, and insulin in determining how hungry you get, how fast it will burn off the food you eat, and if it will hang on to, or let go of weight.  Leptin also helps to tap into fat stores and thereby reduce them.  On the other hand, when leptin doesn't do it's function properly, you keep eating because you never feel like you've had enough food.  Leptin and insulin resistance go hand in hand.  If you lose weight, your body will become more sensitive to leptin and it will start acting the way it was intended. Insulin is also more sensitive in normal weighted  individuals.  Obesity reduces sensitivity and is one of the causes of type 2 diabetes. In other words, leptin will help you to push away from the table and say, "I've had enough!" So control what you eat and the amount consumed to ward off obesity and diabetes.

Ghrelin, another hormone, tells your brain, "I'm hungry, let's eat!"  This hormone is produced in the stomach and upper intestine.  When you think about food, your gut releases ghrelin.  The positive side of ghrelin is the help it gives to the pituitary gland to release growth hormone.

The body chemistry is very complex but to keep it healthy you have choices in the food you eat, and the amount you gobble down once it gets past your teeth.  To keep your body healthy and trim, you have to have a basic sense of your diet, exercise, sleep, water and calorie consumption, stress control, and enough balance between all these considerations to live a healthy and happy life.

For references on hormones and diet control, here is a list that should help you with hormones, the why, how, and what they do:
Copy any one of the listed references and paste them on your URL (address bar on the top of your page).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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"I told my doctor I get very tired when I go on a diet, so he gave me pep pills. 
Know what happened"  I ate faster".
- Joe E. Lewis

Strength Training For Seniors

Are you a youngster of 65 or more years?  Do you spend half of your time in a doctor's office and the rest of your waking hours making doctor appointments, picking up medications at a pharmacy, and complaining of pains here, there and everywhere?  Well my dear friend, you need help.  

Let's start off with an appointment at your doctor's office and tell him (her) that you want a checkup to determine what kinds of exercise he recommends. What, if any, are your limitations that you should be aware of to tell your trainer?  Get a form, signed by the doctor, that you can participate in strength training and have him list any items that need special attention (i.e., heart problems, recent surgeries, arthritis, etc.).

If you will go to a gym and get an experienced personal trainer, he'll get you started after obtaining your goals, time allowed for training, how often  you can work with him during the week, and any other information he may require.  If you have experience exercising, let him know and what you did and when you last worked out on a regular basis.  This is choice No. 1!

If you do everything on your own, please look at some of the best places to offer help in your exercise plan.  Each of these sources you can find on your computer.  Also, you can see videos or pictures with explanations of what and how to do the various exercises.  The recommended sources are listed below.

  1. 10 Best YouTube channels for free fitness videos:
  2.  Physical Activity: Strength training for older adults: Exercises Step 1. DNPAO/CDC.

Monday, March 10, 2014

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“I never worry about diets.  The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”
-Mae West

The Mediterranean Diet: Part 2
From the Mayo Clinic

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:
·        Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
·        Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil
·        Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
·        Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
·        Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
·        Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active, and enjoying meals with family and friends.
Focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains
The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes fruits, vegetables and grains. For example, residents of Greece average six or more servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
Grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and usually contain very few unhealthy trans fats, and bread is an important part of the diet. However, throughout the Mediterranean region, bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil — not eaten with butter or margarine, which contains saturated or trans fats.
Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat, but most of the fat is healthy. Because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large amounts — generally no more than a handful a day. For the best nutrition, avoid candied or honey-roasted and heavily salted nuts
Choose healthier fats
The focus of the Mediterranean diet isn't on limiting total fat consumption, but rather on choosing healthier types of fat. The Mediterranean diet discourages saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (trans fats), both of which contribute to heart disease.
The Mediterranean diet features olive oil as the primary source of fat. Olive oil is mainly monounsaturated fat — a type of fat that can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated or trans fats. "Extra-virgin" and "virgin" olive oils (the least processed forms) also contain the highest levels of protective plant compounds that provide antioxidant effects.
Canola oil and some nuts contain the beneficial linolenic acid (a type of omega-3 fatty acid) in addition to healthy unsaturated fat. Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides, decrease blood clotting, and are associated with decreased incidence of sudden heart attacks, improve the health of your blood vessels, and help moderate blood pressure. Fatty fish — such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon — are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish is eaten on a regular basis in the Mediterranean diet.
What about wine?
The health effects of alcohol have been debated for many years, and some doctors are reluctant to encourage alcohol consumption because of the health consequences of excessive drinking. However, alcohol — in moderation — has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease in some research studies.
The Mediterranean diet typically includes a moderate amount of wine, usually red wine. This means no more than 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine daily for women of all ages and men older than age 65 and no more than 10 ounces (296 milliliters) of wine daily for younger men. More than this may increase the risk of health problems, including increased risk of certain types of cancer.
If you're unable to limit your alcohol intake to the amounts defined above, if you have a personal or family history of alcohol abuse, or if you have heart or liver disease, refrain from drinking wine or any other alcohol.
Putting it all together
The Mediterranean diet is a delicious and healthy way to eat. Many people who switch to this style of eating say they'll never eat any other way. Here are some specific steps to get you started:
·        Eat your veggies and fruits — and switch to whole grains.  A variety of plant foods should make up the majority of your meals. They should be minimally processed — fresh and whole are best. Include veggies and fruits in every meal and eat them for snacks as well. Switch to whole-grain bread and cereal, and begin to eat more whole-grain rice and pasta products. Keep baby carrots, apples and bananas on hand for quick, satisfying snacks. Fruit salads are a wonderful way to eat a variety of healthy fruit.
·        Go nuts. Nuts and seeds are good sources of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Keep almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts on hand for a quick snack. Choose natural peanut butter, rather than the kind with hydrogenated fat added. Try blended sesame seeds (tahini) as a dip or spread for bread.
·        Pass on the butter. Try olive or canola oil as a healthy replacement for butter or margarine. Lightly drizzle it over vegetables. After cooking pasta, add a touch of olive oil, some garlic and green onions for flavoring. Dip bread in flavored olive oil or lightly spread it on whole-grain bread for a tasty alternative to butter. Try tahini as a dip or spread for bread too.
·        Spice it up. Herbs and spices make food tasty and can stand in for salt and fat in recipes.
·        Go fish. Eat fish at least twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Grill, bake or broil fish for great taste and easy cleanup. Avoid breaded and fried fish.
·        Rein in the red meat. Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month. Substitute fish and poultry for red meat. When choosing red meat, make sure it's lean and keep portions small (about the size of a deck of cards). Also avoid sausage, bacon and other high-fat, processed meats.
·        Choose low-fat dairy. Limit higher fat dairy products, such as whole or 2 percent milk, cheese and ice cream. Switch to skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low-fat cheese.

Monday, March 3, 2014

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"A fit, healthy body - that is the best fashion statement".
Jess C. Scott

The article below was written by Monica Mollica, a well known bodybuilder
and an expert on nutrition.  She holds a Bachelor and Master degree in Nutrition from the University of Stockholm / Karolinska Institue, Sweden. She has also done PhD level course work at renowned Baylor University, TX. 
The high lighting was done by Paul Beck.  See my comments below her references.

 Muscular Fitness More Important Than Body Weight To Prevent Heart Disease


Exercise protects against heart disease in many ways. One important mechanism is by elevating HDL, a.k.a. the “good” cholesterol.[1] It is well established that high levels of HDL are protective against cardiovascular disease and the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) has emphasized increasing HDL levels to help reduce CHD risk. [2-4]  However, not only HDL levels are important. Emerging research in showing that HDL quality and function is as important, if not more important for health promotion and prevention of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases...[5-7]

Researchers from the University of California/Los Angeles (UCLA, California, USA) investigated HDL quality in three groups of young men:[8]

1) overweight untrained (BMI 30 - no training)

2) overweight trained  (BMI 29 - 4 d or more per week resistance training)

3) lean trained (BMI 24 - 4 d or more per week resistance training)

It was found that HDL function was significantly better in both trained groups compared with the overweight untrained group. However, HDL function in the overweight trained group was not significantly different from that of the lean trained group. 

Thus, muscular fitness is more important than body weight for HDL functionality and could be a potential mechanism by which resistance training may decrease cardiovascular disease risk.

Interestingly, it was noted that some metabolic and hormonal parameters were related to HDL functionality. High HDL function not only correlated with lower oxidized LDL, which is implicated in atherosclerosis, but also with higher testosterone levels. The latter can explain why low testosterone levels are associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk.[2-5]

Interestingly, it was noted that some metabolic and hormonal parameters were related to HDL functionality. High HDL function not only correlated with lower oxidized LDL, which is implicated in atherosclerosis, but also with higher testosterone levels. The latter can explain why low testosterone levels are associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk.[9-12]

This is the first study to demonstrate a relationship between HDL redox activity (an aspect of HDL function) and testosterone.

1.            Pattyn, N., et al., The effect of exercise on the cardiovascular risk factors constituting the metabolic syndrome: a meta-analysis of controlled trials. Sports Med, 2013. 43(2): p. 121-33.
2.            Barter, P., HDL-C: role as a risk modifier. Atheroscler Suppl, 2011. 12(3): p. 267-70.
3.            Sharma, R.K., V.N. Singh, and H.K. Reddy, Thinking beyond low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: strategies to further reduce cardiovascular risk. Vasc Health Risk Manag, 2009. 5: p. 793-9.
4.            McGrowder, D., et al., The role of high-density lipoproteins in reducing the risk of vascular diseases, neurogenerative disorders, and cancer. Cholesterol, 2011. 2011: p. 496925.
5.            Eren, E., N. Yilmaz, and O. Aydin, High Density Lipoprotein and it's Dysfunction. Open Biochem J, 2012. 6: p. 78-93.
6.            Kontush, A. and M.J. Chapman, Functionally defective high-density lipoprotein: a new therapeutic target at the crossroads of dyslipidemia, inflammation, and atherosclerosis. Pharmacol Rev, 2006. 58(3): p. 342-74.
7.            Besler, C., T.F. Luscher, and U. Landmesser, Molecular mechanisms of vascular effects of High-density lipoprotein: alterations in cardiovascular disease. EMBO Mol Med, 2012. 4(4): p. 251-68.
8.            Roberts, C.K., et al., Untrained young men have dysfunctional HDL compared with strength-trained men irrespective of body weight status. J Appl Physiol (1985), 2013. 115(7): p. 1043-9.
9.            Bhasin, S., Effects of testosterone administration on fat distribution, insulin sensitivity, and atherosclerosis progression.Clin Infect Dis, 2003. 37 Suppl 2: p. S142-9.
10.          Eckardstein, A. and F.C. Wu, Testosterone and atherosclerosis. Growth Horm IGF Res, 2003. 13 Suppl A: p. S72-84.
11.          Manolakou, P., et al., The effects of endogenous and exogenous androgens on cardiovascular disease risk factors and progression. Reprod Biol Endocrinol, 2009. 7: p. 44.
12.          Kelly, D.M. and T.H. Jones, Testosterone: a vascular hormone in health and disease. J Endocrinol, 2013. 217(3): p. R47-71.
Comments:  Monica's article explains that exercise helps prevent cardiovascular problems and an exercise program of strength training offers the trainee results that will show up in your blood tests!  Loss of fat because of poor eating habits, and little or no exercise leads to poor health.  Get to the gym ASAP!  Ellen DeGeneres says this about the gym: "I'm so unfamiliar with the gym, I call it James".