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Heart Awareness Month: Obesity and Your Heart Disease Risk

Written by Lisa Jillanza

It's a well-known fact that being overweight increases your chance of being at risk of a number of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.  But research shows that even a small amount of weight loss can lessen your risk of falling victim to these deadly diseases.

Research also shows that, unfortunately, eating just 100 more calories a day than you should, can cause your body weight to be in the obese category and not just the overweight category.

To determine whether or not you are overweight or obese, use a BMI Calculator.  A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight; a BMI between 30 and 39.9 is considered obese.  If your BMI is greater than 25 and you are older than 30 years old, you should strongly consider losing weight to reduce your risk of heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.

Thyroid 101

Written by Lisa Jillanza

It's only the size of your thumb, but your thyroid controls three main aspects of your life - your waistline, your mood and your energy level.  Located between the voice box and the collar bone, and wrapped around your windpipe, your thyroid helps to control your energy levels.  The gland, shaped like a butterfly, pumps out a hormone that regulates both your metabolism and body temperature.  It also works with nearly every system in your body to help keep you on your toes : both mentally and physically.  But, thyroid disorders are on the rise and of the 25 million Americans with thyroid disorders, the majority is female.

Fortunately, we can check ourselves to make sure that our thyroid is the proper size, as an enlarged thyroid may mean that you are producing too much or too little hormone. You should do this self-test once every two months:

1. Hold a mirror in front of you and focus your gaze on the lower front area of your neck, right above your collarbone.

2. Tilt your head back, moving the mirror along with you.

3. Take a medium-size sip of water.

4. As you swallow, watch your thyroid area, checking for any unusual bulges or protrusions. (Note: Don't confuse your thyroid with your Adam's apple, which is farther up.)

5. If you see anything suspicious, go to your doctor.

Avoid the Flu with These Winter Eating Habits

Written by Lisa Jillanza

With winter comes colds and flu's that wreak havoc on our immune system.  In order to boost our immune systems, we need to make some minor adjustments in our diet and lifestyle to help curb the impact the season has on our body.  Try these small adjustments this year:

Adjustment 1:

Get your Essential Fatty Acids

Because essential fatty acids are the key to building super hormones, make sure that you get enough of these fatty acids from nuts, seeds, fish, cold pressed oils and supplements.

Adjustment 2:

Eat Enough Protein

 

Protein is important for your optimal health no matter what season it is.  Nutritionalists suggest .75 to 1.25 grams of protein per pound of your body weight depending upon your physical activity.  But, because our body can only absorb 30 to 35 grams per meal, we need to spread our protein intake throughout the day.  Be sure to eat some sort of protein in every meal and in every snack.  Getting some of that protein through soy-based products is also recommended by many nutritionalists.

Adjustment 3:

Choose low GI carbohydrates

 

GI or glycemic index, is the measure of how fast blood sugar rises after eating.  One good example is that white sugar has a glycemic index of 100, where peanuts have a glycemic index of 15.  That means that peanuts raise the blood sugar levels at 15% of the rate of white sugar.  Fast rising blood sugar means the pancreas produces and sometimes overproduces insulin.

These spikes in insulin can weaken the immune system and interferes with the production of super hormones.  By choosing low GI carbohydrates, combined with eating the appropriate levels of protein you can better control your insulin.

Adjustment 4:

Nutritional supplements is not an option

 

Instead of boosting their immune system by eating the right foods, exercising and avoiding stress, too many people turn to herbal remedies to prevent colds and the flu.  However, these people believe that using herbal remedies, like Echinacea, will stimulate their immune system and often utilize these remedies rather than eating the right foods.  Echinacea can and will stimulate the immune system, but if you aren't feeding the immune system with the proper vitamins and nutrients, the effectiveness of the herbal remedy will not be as long-lasting as you expect.

Overall, the best way to adjust your immune system this winter is to avoid too much supplementation, get enough protein and essential fatty acids, and avoid those sugary carbohydrates to make your way through these next couple months illness-free.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Written by Lisa Jillanza

In support of October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the American Institute for Cancer Research recently estimated that nearly 40 percent of breast cancer can be prevented if all women would follow these four simple lifestyle changes.

1. Have one alcoholic drink per day, MAX : abstaining is even better although.

2. Get moving for at least 30 minutes per day : besides helping you to keep a healthy weight, exercise will also help boost your immune system and keep your hormones in check.

3. Watch your body weight and keep it down : fat cells produce estrogen which can only fuel some cancers.

4. If you have a baby and breastfeed, try to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months : this in and of itself can reduce your risk of getting breast cancer by 60 percent.