Eating Disorders

Weight gain could be a slippery slope where a few extra pounds could quickly turn into a wardrobe nightmare. Weight problems are mainly caused by two factors, unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. While some are genetically predisposed to suffer from easy weight gain, most overweight problems are due to simple lifestyle habits.

We’ve all been guilty of eating an extra piece of cake during the holidays. But the real problem is when we just can’t stop ourselves from grabbing that extra piece of cake holiday or no holiday. And this is where eating disorders come in.

Binge Eating

Binge eating is simply not being able to stop yourself from eating. Binge eating is overeating or the loss of control and the general feeling of helplessness. But this is not commonly an overt behavior, people who suffer from binge eating do this in secret and away from the prying eyes of people. Feelings of guilt and depression after binge eating are also manifested.

Binge eating certainly leads to weight problems but this does not stop there. People are also at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other weight related problems.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating condition where people overeat and try to eliminate their excessive food intake by vomiting, taking laxatives or inducing diarrhea. Bulimia nervosa is not merely overeating, this is out-of-control eating that goes beyond stuffing yourself full.

People who are suffering from bulimia nervosa are not always fat in fact some of them have normal figures. This is because people who suffer from bulimia nervosa are able to purge excess food from their system.

Anorexia Nervosa

At the other side of the coin is an eating disorder referred to as anorexia nervosa. Rather than being unable to stop yourself from grabbing the nearest edible concoction you see, you simply refuse to take any type of food for fear of becoming fat.

People exercise aggressively in an attempt to lose calories while refusing to eat. Exercising is a great way to lose those extra pounds but we should at least replenish the nutrients we lost. People suffering from this condition do not only actively reduce their food intake they also take laxatives, diuretics and vomit to remove the little amount of nutrients they have in their system.

Eating Disorders Summary

Statistics show that women tend to suffer from eating disorders more than men. Specific eating disorders are also more common in certain age groups and develop at an early age. Eating disorders could be developed and are also genetic. People with relatives who suffer from an eating disorder are more likely to develop this condition.

Heredity could be a contributing factor but far more concerning are the different environmental factors that come into play. While genetics is something that could not be controlled, external influences have a bigger role in the increasing number of people who suffer from eating disorders. The pressure to conform with what society considers as an attractive body has forced many to the path of anorexia nervosa.

Depression, anxiety and high levels of stress can also lead to comfort eating and eventually binge eating. The constant pressure at work and at home has left many people searching for an easy way to relieve stress.

We all have had our bouts with eating disorders at one part in our life. From our episodes of binge eating to extreme dieting what matters is that we have been able to overcome these situations.  It only takes a few steps to slip into the dangers of eating orders. If you believe that you might already be suffering, talking with friends and families or getting the help of a health professional is the best way to treat this condition.

Roadblocks to a Thinner You

You’ve gone the whole nine yards and yet you’re still seeing little or no results on your weight loss program. While losing weight seems to be a breeze for some, others find it to be a constant uphill battle they just can’t win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medications

Medicines have a direct effect on our body’s many processes including our body weight. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen), corticosteroids and high blood pressure medication causes fluid retention. Female hormone pills for example hinder weight loss and could actually contribute to weight gain.

If you’re currently under medication, the best thing to do is to discuss this with your physician. Try asking for alternative medications which doesn’t have this side effect. If this is not possible, switch to a low fat diet and a more aggressive exercise program to offset weight gain. But of course this should first be consulted with your doctor to avoid complications.

You’ve reached your normal weight

A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 25 is considered normal. Losing weight after reaching your ideal weight could be difficult since this could face opposition from your body. BMI is computed by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by the square of your height (in meters).

If you still believe that your are “fat” even if you’ve reached your normal weight, then this could be a  symptom of a psychological or eating disorder. People suffering from Anorexia nervosa for example, go into extreme diets and exercise programs just to have a thinner figure.

Hormonal Changes

There are many factors that cause hormonal changes in our body. Any change in the level of hormones has a direct effect on our body’s normal processes including weight gain. Aging, medication, medical conditions, menopause and menstrual periods are just some of the factors affecting hormone levels.

This is a condition that affects women more than men. Female hormone pills, menstrual periods and menopause for example are just some of the conditions that affect the levels of hormones in the body. The best way to lose weight is to tailor your weight loss program accordingly. Consulting a dietician could help you develop a personalized program could make dieting healthier and more effective.

Extreme diets

If your weight loss program requires extreme dieting then this could actually cause your body to store more fats or reduce the amount of fats being burned. Undergoing prolonged periods of “starvation” causes your body to turn into its own defense mechanisms in an attempt to compensate for such extreme measures. It reaches a point where human nature takes over and you are mentally unable to resist eating. Rather than losing weight in a gradual and healthy pace, suddenly depriving your body of its basic needs could lead to sickness. Our body requires its share of daily supply of nutrients. And that includes fats to power our daily activities.

Stress and Anxiety

Major stumbling blocks to any diet program or any life changing decision is a person’s mental condition. Stress, anxiety and unrealistic expectations leads to self doubt undermining any weight loss program. Any changes to your normal daily routine and eating habits can be very stressing. Having a positive disposition, getting the right support (friends and family) and having realistic goals is your best defense when things are not going your way.

Dehydration – Danger Signs

Water makes 60 percent of our body’s weight, and this simple fact makes drinking water an essential part of keeping our body healthy. We can survive without food for weeks but it only takes days or even a couple of hours for our body to shut down from dehydration.

It is recommended that we drink eight glasses of water a day and drinking more is better. But we don’t have to strictly follow the eight glasses rule since 20 percent of our water intake comes from solid food such as fruits and vegetables.

Water is essential in our body’s normal functioning. It is a natural lubricant that keeps our joints and muscles moving smoothly. It is also a natural antioxidant that helps flush out body waste. Water also function in regulating body temperature, it helps release internal body heat through perspiration. Drinking a glass of water before meals also helps you lose weight. Just like solid food, water takes stomach space helping you feel fuller even when eating less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signs of Dehydration

Prolonged dehydration can lead to serious health problems and even death. And this can be very dangerous for toddlers and infants who are not able to verbally express their condition. Diarrhea especially in infants can be very dangerous and life threatening. Fluids are easily lost through the stool this along with vital nutrients and electrolytes.

Headache, delirium and light headedness

An ominous sign of dehydration especially for athletes or those participating in physical activities are those that affect their mental condition. Long distance runners for example might feel confused when too much water is lost through perspiration.

Other symptoms include dizziness, weakness and even nausea as not enough fluid is circulating in the body. The brain suffers because not enough nutrients or fluids are reaching it. The brain is one of the hungriest organs and when it is not fed our mental condition suffers.

Dry mouth and extreme thirst

We crave for food when we’re hungry and thirsty when there is not enough water in the body. The body sends clear signals when something’s wrong. And the sooner we identify these signals, the quicker we can remedy the condition.

Water can be lost through the skin when exposed to extremely hot temperatures. Drinking water is highly advised during extreme physical activities or prolonged exposure to the sun.

Fatigue or sudden tiredness

Dehydration affects us physically and mentally. With more than half of our body composed of water, the mind and muscles would not work as efficiently. Without the right amounts of water, we become less alert and confused. This holds true even while we’re exercising or resting.

Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps can also occur with dehydration. Water is not only loss during perspiration, salt and electrolytes are also released. Go the extra mile by drinking sports beverages loaded with electrolytes and sodium. The sodium or salt helps your body retain more water.

Healthy Ways to Cook Vegetables

When it comes to eating healthy, vegetables certainly come on top on our list of must eat foods. It comes as no surprise since this food group are some of the best natural sources of all essential vitamins and nutrients the body needs to function optimally.

But are we getting the most out of our vegetables? Aside from getting our daily dose of vegetables, we should also consider how these are prepared. Cooking food in general creates a chemical reaction which breaks down or even destroys the nutrients contained in our vegetables.

Proper food preparation helps us get the most of the food we eat. While we don’t recommend eating our vegetables raw, we should definitely consider how we cook our vegetables. Cooking actually helps break down the nutrients making it easy for use to digest and take it into our system. And there is no sure fire way to prepare all types of vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sauté versus Frying

Frying causes fat to enter the vegetables and dehydrates it in the process. A healthy way to go around this is to sauté the vegetable and use healthy types of cooking oil such as virgin olive oil. Using virgin oil actually helps increase the absorption of nutrients. Aside from preparing the vegetable for digestion, virgin oil gives an extra kick of flavor.

Baking or Roasting

Baking or roasting involves intense heat over a predetermined amount of time. And how healthy we prepare our vegetables depend on these factors. The amount of available nutrients after baking or roasting also depend on the type of vegetable.

Eggplants, asparagus, broccoli, artichokes and celery for example works great with baking. Tomatoes are best prepared by roasting. The act of cutting tomatoes and heating it makes lycopene more available for digestion. Lycopene is fat-soluble pigment that is found in rich amounts in tomatoes. It is a powerful antioxidant that reduces our risks for cancer. But technically, tomatoes are fruits.

Microwave

Nutrients found in vegetables are often lost through heating and water. Microwaving does not require water to cook and heats the vegetables internally. This is a great way of preserving the Vitamin C content in vegetables. Phytonutrients contained in vegetables such as carrots and beans are also preserved when microwaved.

Jalapenos Hot and Healthy

Want to add some spice into your life? Then adding peppers is literally a quick way of adding some much needed spice to your food that is. When it comes to peppers, Jalapenos is one serious hot spice. But what gives Jalapenos its kick?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capsaicin

Peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical that gives its spicy flavor. This is found in the fruits of plants in the Capsicum family which includes bell peppers, jalapenos and chili peppers in general. The greatest concentration of capsaicin can be found in the white membranes of the pepper and the fleshy part contains less.

The Scoville Scale is used to measure the capsaicin content in chili peppers. This is expressed as Scoville Heat Units. Surprisingly, Bell peppers do not contain capsaicin and measures zero in the Scoville Scale. Capsaicin is the source of heat in chili peppers. But besides giving its signature taste, capsaicin can also cause a burning skin sensation. And when not careful, it can even irritate or burn the eyes.

Health Benefits

Jalapenos score high in the Scoville Scale and this is due to its high capsaicin content. And the many health benefits of Jalapenos can be traced to this. Capsaicin helps people lose weight, stop bacterial growth, fight cancer, improves vision and stops the common cold. So the next time you have a craving for Jalapenos take a look below at is many health benefits.

Helps You Lose Weight

Eating chili is an easy way to raise your body temperature a few degrees higher. The capsaicin contained in pepper helps you raise your core body temperature and boost your metabolism. Capsaicin also helps you burn more calories after a meal. Eating Jalapeno and other spicy foods also reduces your appetite causing you to eat less. By raising your metabolism, helping you burn more calories and reducing your appetite Jalapenos can certainly help you lose weight.

Fights the Common Cold

A natural way of getting rid of colds is to load yourself with Vitamin C. And aside from containing capsaicin, Jalapeno is also loaded with Vitamin C. A serving of Jalapeno contains 60 percent of the recommended dose of Vitamin C which makes it one of the best sources for this vitamin. Jalapeno contains more Vitamin C than an orange making one of the top sources of Vitamin C.

Vitamin C powers the immune system helping fight off infections and even the common cold. It helps build white blood cells, the immune system’s workhorse.  Taking Vitamin C rich foods strengthens the body’s immune system reducing episodes of colds. It helps us loosen mucus and hastens the recovery process.

Better Eyesight

Another Vitamin which Jalapenos contain in good amounts is Vitamin A. in fact, it contains 17% of the recommended daily allowance for this vitamin. Aside from Vitamin A, Jalapenos also contain phytonutrients and lutein. These important nutrients are essential for good eyesight and are needed by the retina. Getting your recommended daily allowance of these nutrients prevents eye problems later in life.

Cancer Fighter

Capsaicin contained in Jalapeno reduce cancer cell growth by turning protein which fuels it growth. This has been especially effective in people with breast cancer.

Migraine Treatment

Capsaicin when applied topically or as a cream can help eliminate migraine. Capsaicin promotes the release of pain peptides which help reduce pain. Those who used topical capsaicin helped reduce pain intensity from mild to moderate.

Superfoods – Spotlight on Avocado

What does it take to be called a superfood? For one, it should be packed with nutrients almost making it a must eat for a healthy body. And if this is one of the yardsticks used for measuring superfoods, it seems that avocado makes a strong case since it is definitely loaded with essential nutrients.

Before you go overboard and start grabbing avocados every time you have the opportunity you must first understand that a single avocado contains approximately 215 calories. And when you mention calories into the mix, especially with this amount people might start thinking weight gain. Yes, avocados do contain more than the average calorie content for most fruits but this is of the healthier kind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The recommended daily intake for avocados is 30 grams or a fifth of the fruit. But consuming half the fruit or 68 grams is still considered to be within healthy limits. On average an avocado contains:

Amount per 100 grams

Calories 160
% Daily Value
Total Fat 15 g 23%
Saturated fat 2.1 g 10%
Polyunsaturated fat 1.8 g
Monounsaturated fat 10 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 7 mg 0%
Potassium 485 mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 9 g 3%
Dietary fiber 7 g 28%
Sugar 0.7 g
Protein 2 g 4%
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 16%
Calcium 1%
Iron 3%
Vitamin D 0%
Vitamin B-6 15%
Vitamin B-12 0%
Magnesium 7%

 

Avocado Health Benefits

  1. Keeps the heart healthy – avocados do contain a healthy share of fats but most of these are of the healthy kind. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats which prevent the development of arteriosclerosis or the hardening of arteries.
  2. Healthy, glowing skin – avocados are nature’s answer to moisturizers. It can be used to keep our skin looking young and healthy. It is also rich in antioxidants which fights against toxins and helps protect our skin against harmful UV light. Avocados are also rich in monounsaturated and fat-soluble vitamins that helps the skin and hair glowing.
  3. Helps you lose weight – diets low in carbohydrate and high in healthy fats actually improve weight loss. Fat rich food helps you feel fuller longer. These make you feel fuller and decreases the frequency of meals.
  4. Lowers your risk for cancer – some studies have suggested the correlation between phytochemicals in avocado and cancer. Phytochemicals in avocado help prevent further growth of cancer cells. Avocado is also rich in antioxidants that prevent unhealthy toxin buildup which reduces further risks for cancers.
  5. Helps improve digestion – avocados are rich in fiber. This helps improve digestion and reduces risk for colon cancer. It also helps get rid of toxins in the intestines keeping them healthy.

Losing Weight and Aging

Remember those times when we could almost get away with eating anything and still manage to keep our figures slim? It seems that each year brings more and more hurdles making it difficult if not impossible to keep those fat deposits at bay.

The easiest solution is to deny ourselves the pleasures of eating often opting to take a small bite of our favorite cake. Keeping slim has become so difficult that even our best efforts seem futile. Each year we grow older seems to add a corresponding inch to our waistline making weight gain synonymous with growing old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accept this change

The first step towards keeping a slimmer body is to accept these changes and plan accordingly. Preparing yourself mentally for the difficult tasks ahead will give you a better perspective of your condition. In the past, aging did not mean gaining weight. This was because people were actively had more active lifestyles and the food was generally healthier.

With all these modern conveniences that makes people soft and all the abundance of processed foods and sugary drinks keeping our body slim has become a challenge. Be conscious about the changes that aging brings and live your life accordingly.

Medical conditions

Weight gain may not be the direct result of aging. An underlying medical condition such as metabolic related diseases could be the culprit. Years of abuse on our body caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits can be responsible for weight gain in our advanced age.

Metabolic conditions such as those associated with the thyroid makes it almost impossible for people to lose weight. One of every five people over the age of 40 suffer from hypothyroidism. This tiny gland is responsible for regulating metabolism or how effectively we digest food. Visit your doctor regularly and have a thorough medical exam. You might never know if your weight gain is the symptom of a medical condition.

Eating Schedules

Living a healthy lifestyle is not denying or starving yourself. If you’ve already switched to a healthy diet and don’t see any results then eating small frequent meals could do the trick. Accept that your body might not be as efficient in digesting food. Eating small frequent meals makes it easier for your body to convert food into usable energy rather than converting it into fat deposits. A light breakfast followed by a healthy snack before lunch is recommended. Just remember to keep this within 3 to 4 hour intervals.

Keep yourself satiated, extreme dieting could lead to binge eating which only makes your weight condition worse. Food taken after 8 pm is more likely to go into in your waist or belly. Never skip breakfast. It still remains the most opportune time for our metabolism. Breakfast fuels our body for the rest of the day.

Aging and our Body

Reaching 40, our body undergoes numerous physical changes which can affect how our body works. This is evident not only in our outward appearance but more importantly our internal processes. The changes are subtle and are not readily seen. This is mainly due to hormonal changes, other factors that affect digestion and metabolism.

Spinach – Muscle Builder and More

Mention the word spinach and images of Popeye chomping down on a can of this vegetable instantly comes into the mind of children. Well, this might not be far from the truth as spinach is definitely one of the healthiest sources of nutrients and protein for building muscles.

But spinach is more than building muscles. This vegetable is also an excellent minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients.  Aside from being a rich protein source for building muscles, spinach also helps improve eyesight, keeps the heart healthy, promotes optimum child growth and keeps the skin healthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better Brain Functioning

Spinach is a potent antioxidant, contains potassium and folate all of which contributes to keep the brain healthy. Folate helps reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Potassium on the other hand helps improve blood flow to the brain. More blood flow means more energy and oxygen is sent to the brain for optimum functioning.

Stronger Bones

Spinach contains Vitamin K which helps the bones retain calcium. Improved calcium retention leads to bone mineralization. Spinach also contains copper, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese. This keeps our bones strong and healthy and reduces our risk for developing osteoporosis.

Optimum Child Growth

Protein is an important building block of the body. This is why parents are encouraged to include spinach in their growing child’s diet. Spinach is also rich in minerals and phytonutrients all of which is essential for a growing child’s body.

Cancer Prevention

Spinach contains tocopherol, folate and chlorophyllin. These are currently being studied as a possible treatment for prostate, lung, bladder and liver cancers. Spinach is also being studied as a method for reducing tumor activity and preventing the spread of cancer in the body. However, one sure thing is that spinach contains antioxidants which are very effective in eliminating cancer-causing toxins in the body.

Reduces Inflammation

Painful conditions such as arthritis and gout are caused by severe inflammation. Instant relief for these conditions can involve taking anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pressure. Spinach is a rich source of natural anti-inflammatory compounds which helps reduce inflammation in the body. This is not only effective against arthritis and gout but also protect the heart from inflammation.

Ulcer Prevention

Vegetables in general has been proven to keep our digestive system healthy. It helps prevent colon cancer and prevents gastric ulcers by protecting the mucous membrane of the stomach.  Various compounds found in spinach has also been found to strengthen the digestive tract lining. Its anti-inflammatory properties also prevents harmful conditions from developing in this area.

Muscle Builder

Spinach is one the healthiest and riches sources of protein. It helps feed those protein-hungry muscles while keeping almost every part of the body healthy. Spinach is certainly a healthy and cheaper alternative to meat and expensive protein supplements.

Cinnamon – Surprisingly Healthy

Spices has long been used in bringing that much needed flavor to some of the best dishes in the world. But some of these spices were not originally meant for the kitchen. In Ayurvedic medicine for example, some spices were used for treating respiratory and digestive problems.

Cinnamon brings its own unique taste and fragrance to some of the tastiest pastries. And this is something that ancient Egyptians and Romans commonly used in creating essential oils or masking bad odors.  While there’s no contesting how good cinnamon smells, it might come as a surprise to many how this could also have beneficial effects on our health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reduce your Risk for Cancer

Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant. It helps reduce the buildup of toxins in the body which can have a degenerative effect on cells. By getting rid of wastes, cinnamon helps keep our cells healthy. Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties. Which protects our body against cellular-level damage.

Alzheimer and Dementia

Cinnamon contains Cinnamaldehyde, a compound responsible for giving its signature smell and Epicatechin, a powerful anti-oxidant. The exact mechanisms for the development of Alzheimer and Dementia are not clearly known but cinnamon’s anti-oxidant properties can prevent the development of plaques and tangles. Because of its powerful anti-oxidant properties, cinnamon can protect us against oxidative stress which is a major factor in the development of Dementia.

Better Heart Health

Cinnamon can be used to reduce the level of cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol all of have a negative effect on our heart’s health. It helps control the level of bad cholesterol while increasing the levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol. Cinnamon also help lower blood pressure which combined with healthy levels of cholesterol contributes to a healthier heart.

Helps Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Cinnamon helps maintain normal blood sugar levels. It also helps reduce insulin resistance which is responsible for metabolism and proper energy use. Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels by decreasing the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after eating. This is done by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates during digestion. Cinnamon also works like insulin by improving the uptake of glucose by the cells.

Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungi Properties

Cinnamon oil based solutions has been proven to kill common bacteria such as E. coli and streptococcus. Cinnamaldehyde, a compound found in cinnamon helps fight infection. It also has a negative effect on the growth of bacteria. Cinnamon oil can also be used to treat fungal infections in the respiratory tract. Cinnamon also helps prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath by fighting bacteria in the mouth.

Little Known Health Benefits of Exercise

We all know how exercise helps improve overall strength and heart health. But aside from strengthening those muscles and giving you stronger bones, it also provides little known benefits such as improved hearing and fewer cold episodes.

Exercising is a great way to keep us healthy and there’s no contesting that. But if you’re still searching for a little push then this little known health benefits is certainly a welcome. It can give that extra motivation the next time you find yourself too lazy to workout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Say Goodbye to Colds

Okay that is certainly an overstatement but people who exercise swear that they’re immune from colds or so they say. Exercises generally strengthen the body and in this case the immunity system. People who regularly exercise have good health habits and are more conscious of what they eat.

There is no direct link between fewer colds and exercise. However, studies have shown that between people who regularly exercise and those who don’t, the percentage of inactive participants suffering from colds are higher.

Prolonged, intense exercises however increase our risk for colds. This is because strenuous exercises increase the body’s levels of cortisol and adrenaline. Which can suppress the immune system thus increase the chances for cold.

Keep your Eyes Healthy

Exercises do not directly improve eyesight but it does lower your risk for developing eye problems such as cataracts. Exercising decreases inflammation which is a known cause for cataracts. Exercising regularly normalizes blood sugar levels. The eyes contain very fine blood vessels and abnormally high blood sugar levels can damage these blood vessels. This is why people with diabetes are at high risk for developing eye problems.

Better Hearing

No muscles to build here. Just like keeping your eyes healthy, exercise improve overall blood flow in the body. Better blood flow to the cochlea, the ear structure that converts sound into nerve signals that are sent to the brain can explain this. Overall, the body needs a healthy supply of all blood in order to function properly.

Listening to music during a workout or a quick run through the park is a good way to keep ourselves upbeat and in pace with our routine. But some go overboard and blast their ears with music which can have a damaging effect on hearing health. So keep those beats at a minimum and give your ears a break.

Sleep Better, Easier

Exercising is a great way to release stress and you don’t have to hit the gym to get this benefit. The home is an excellent place to workout. Simple home appliances and furniture can be excellent exercise equipment.

Sleep is never overrated. The body does not showdown instead goes into the process of repairing and recuperating after a hard day at work or a gruelling exercise routine. People who sleep better are more likely to perform better the following day.