5 things you can do to help prevent prediabetes from progressing

A diagnosis of prediabetes can be reversed with the right lifestyle changes.

The doctor just told you you’ve got it. But you can breathe a sigh of relief. A diagnosis of prediabetes does not guarantee you’re going to develop diabetes. A chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar, diabetes is the result of genetics, poor lifestyle choices, or obesity. And if left untreated, diabetes can cause serious complications and even death. So finding out you have prediabetes, the condition leading up to diabetes, should get your attention. Such a diagnosis reveals you have high blood sugar levels that are on their way to diabetes. In the event you’re told you have prediabetes, don’t ignore it. Consider it a warning sign that danger is ahead if you don’t make some major lifestyle changes.

Here are 5 things you can do to help prevent prediabetes from progressing.

1. Eat Right

The foods you eat have a direct effect on your blood sugar levels, which means your diet plays the biggest role in reversing diabetes. Remove junk food from your pantry and stock up on low-carb whole foods. A low glycemic diet is a simple way to know which foods to eat or avoid with prediabetes. This diet focuses on lean proteins, healthy fats, and foods high in fiber like vegetables, some fruits, and whole grains. Also, water and unsweetened tea should be your drinks of choice.

At the same time, you’ll do well to avoid white sugar, white rice, white bread, white pasta, and foods made with white flour. Finally, don’t eat highly processed foods, fatty cuts of meat, or fried foods, and since you’re downing water, skip soda, fruit juice, and other sweet drinks.

2. Get More Exercise

Exercise is an effective way to use up the extra sugar that’s in your blood. It also helps your body become more sensitive to the effects of insulin. Make it your goal to lead an active lifestyle by getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week. That’s only two and a half hours a week. Find an activity you enjoy and make it part of your daily routine. Walking, jogging, cycling, yoga, and tennis are all great options.

3. Lose Weight

Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes. Excess weight hinders your body from properly using insulin. If your body mass index is greater than 25, work towards losing just 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight and you’ll greatly reduce your chances of developing the disease. For a 200-pound person, this is just shaving off 10 to 20 pounds.

Plan to lose weight in a healthy way through diet and exercise. Avoid fad diets and extremely low calorie diets. Remember, there are more benefits to weight loss than just preventing diabetes.

4. Stop Smoking

Smoking is one cause of type 2 diabetes. If you smoke, your risk of developing diabetes becomes 30 to 40 percent higher than it is with those who don’t smoke. Smoking also makes managing diabetes more difficult and increases the risk of health complications. Want a cut-and-dry way to sidestep diabetes? Take steps to quit smoking now. Whether you go cold turkey, take medications, or work with a medical professional, quitting smoking will be decision you won’t regret.

5. Monitor Efforts

As you make the necessary lifestyle changes to avoid chronic disease, work closely with your doctor. Every three months have your blood glucose levels checked to see if you’re on the right track. Or better yet, use a home glucose monitor to check your blood via finger stick tests. These at-home tests are a great way to track your body’s response to the foods you eat, the exercise you get, and the weight you lose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2009-2010 Keuilian Inc. 
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Gut bacteria may play a bigger role in overall health than once thought

Gut bacteria may play a bigger role in overall health than once thought.

 

 

It’s common to think of bacteria as bad, dirty, and something that could cause you trouble and disease. So it’s no wonder you want to avoid bacteria as much as possible, right? Maybe not.
The thing to remember is that there are good bacteria and bad. Some cause disease while others are friendly and work to keep you healthy. An emerging and exciting field of study is being taken up by researchers who are investigating the bacteria that inhabit your gastro-intestinal tract. It’s estimated there are 100 trillion microbes and more than 2 million microbial genes (known as your microbiome) living in your gut that influence your brain and behavior, thereby having an effect on your mental and physical health.
While scientists have only scratched the surface when it comes to the relationship between your microbiome and health, here are a few things they know so far.

The Beginning

When babies are first born, they have no bacteria in their intestines. During birth, feeding, and daily life, babies are exposed to bacteria from their mother and environment. Over time, bacteria multiply and become more diverse in the gastrointestinal tract. Unfortunately, the use of antibiotics at a young age may alter the normal balance of bacteria.

By the time a baby is 1 year old, his or her microbial profile is as distinct as a fingerprint. At the age of 3 years, the child’s microbiota profile already looks like that of an adult. It’s during these first few years of life that the bacterial stage is set. From this point on, a disruption in gut bacteria may cause lasting consequences for later health.

The Purpose

The bacteria in your intestines help digest the food you eat, synthesize vitamins, send messages to your immune system, and produce molecules that influence brain function. When the delicate balance of microflora is thrown off, it has the potential to negatively affect health and wellness. An imbalance of bacteria can contribute to inflammation in the body, a major risk factor for a variety of diseases. Some scientists believe the microbiome in your gut is related to every disease out there, ranging from cancer and depression to diabetes and autism and beyond.

The Connection

Studies of stool samples show people with diseases have different bacteria levels in in their gut as compared to healthy individuals. It’s yet to be determined whether it’s the gut bacteria cause disease or disease causing certain bacteria. But once scientists clearly define the differences in bacteria makeup in healthy versus unhealthy people, they may be able to identify disease risk or presence merely by a stool sample.

A healthy microbiome isn’t necessarily determined by the presence or absence of certain bacteria. Rather, a healthy microbiome is dependent upon how diverse it is. When you have many different types of bacteria that can aid your immune system and produce molecules for healthy brain function, you’re better off.

The Conditions

Research is ongoing, but so far gut bacteria has been clearly linked to diseases such as diabetes, obesity, colon cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism also seem to be associated with changes in the microbiome.

The Answer

So the question is, “If your gut bacteria are changed, could you prevent or cure disease?” The answer is most likely, yes—it could. Until scientists make further progress in this area, the most obvious way to alter your microbiome is through diet. Avoiding empty carbs, unhealthy fats, and added sugars and eating a wide variety of whole foods is one way to improve the health of your gut. Adding a probiotic supplement or eating foods rich in probiotics is another option.

It sounds strange, but fecal transplants are occasionally used today to treat certain bacterial infections, but one day medical treatments may include customized probiotics to treat specific conditions. Research is ongoing, so stay tuned to see how this innovative research develops in the coming years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2009-2010 Keuilian Inc. 
Powered by FitPro Magazine™Terms of Service | Legal Disclaimer
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Seven ways to calm anxiety without the use of medication

Seven ways to calm anxiety without the use of medication

Everyone deals with anxiety now and then, some more than others. Maybe you’re the uptight, fearful type who gets anxious about a lot. Whether it’s social interactions, the future, or a dental appointment, you worry and fret over every little thing. Well, join the crowd. Millions of people around the world take medication to help ease their mind. While some people have a diagnosed anxiety disorder that requires the assistance of medication and therapy, others are able to carry on with normal life despite their anxiety.

For those looking for relief from their anxiety but who aren’t ready to turn to medication, here are seven ways to calm your troubled mind the natural way.

1. Herbal Remedies
Many people turn to herbal remedies as a first line of treatment for anxiety. Some come with side effects or interact with certain medications, so talk with your doctor before taking herbs. Also, never drink alcohol while taking herbal supplements as liver damage may occur.

Chamomile, valerian, kava, passionflower, lemon balm, and lavender are all known for their anxiety-relieving effects.

2. Relaxation Techniques
Whether finding some relaxation in the moment when needed or scheduled as part of your regular routine, relaxation techniques prove highly effective at relieving tension and stress. Think of what helps you relax and make it your go-to coping strategy when anxiety hits. This could be performing deep breathing exercises, taking a walk, getting out in nature, practicing yoga, meditating, or taking a hot bath.

3. Exercise
One of the best ways to keep anxiety at bay is regular exercise. Exercise is not only good for your physical health, but your mental health as well. It may be the last thing you feel like doing, but you won’t regret it. Whatever form of exercise you choose to do, whether walking, jogging, weight lifting swimming, or skiing, it will help take your mind off your troubles, release feel-good endorphins, and boost your self-confidence.

4. Counseling
When your family or friends aren’t equipped to help you overcome your anxiety and other natural remedies aren’t doing the trick, it may be time to talk with a professional therapist. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common method of therapy for people dealing with anxiety. Years of training have prepared counselors to help you change negative thought patterns so you can face the stress of life with the necessary tools and confidence.

5. Essential Oils
Whether you diffuse them in the air to breathe or rub them on your skin to be absorbed, essential oils are another natural method for calming anxiety, reducing restlessness, and improving sleep. A few of the most popular essential oils for anxiety include lavender, Roman chamomile, frankincense, rose, ylang ylang, and vetiver.

6. Supplements
Studies show a lack of certain neurotransmitters or vitamins and minerals in your diet may contribute to anxiety. For this reason, some people turn to supplements for relief. A few of the supplements recommended for anxiety include GABA, magnesium, vitamin B, and 5-HTP.

7. Stay in the Moment
Many anxious thoughts have to do with fears of the future. You fear what you can’t control—whether that’s suffering embarrassment, getting sick, or undergoing a medical procedure. One remedy for anxiety is to stay in the moment. Take your mind off your anxieties and focus on your five senses right now. What do you hear, see, smell, taste, and feel? Distraction is a great way to reduce anxiety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2009-2010 Keuilian Inc.
Powered by FitPro Magazine™. Terms of Service | Legal Disclaimer
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

When enough is enough (Kicking the Sugar Habit)

When enough is enough

Found in nearly every processed food, sugar is hard to escape. Food manufacturers know you like it so they put it in their product to “improve” taste. Unfortunately, you’ve grown so accustomed to sweet foods, you crave them when you can’t get them.

Sugar not only tastes good, but it also provides a quick rush of energy and releases endorphins that calm you, causing you to crave more when the natural high wears off. You may find it hard to believe, but some health experts claim sugar is more addictive than hard drugs.

What many people don’t realize is the damage sugar is having on their health. A major contributor to obesity, dementia, diabetes, liver disease, some cancers, and heart disease (not to mention tooth decay), sugar may be slowly killing you.
Know you need to cut back on the sweet stuff, but aren’t sure where to start?

Here are a few ways to manage your sweet tooth.

Understand Your Cravings

Like other drugs, you may crave sugar during certain situations or emotional conditions. You may not even be hungry. Rather, the cravings kick in when you’re bored, happy, stressed, or depressed. How do you feed these emotions? With a dose of sugar. Before trying to control your sugar addiction, it’s important to adopt healthy ways of managing your emotions. Get exercise, practice meditation, listen to music, or talk to a friend. If these methods don’t work, seek help from a professional therapist.

Go Cold Turkey

Some people find that merely cutting back doesn’t do the trick. You may need to cut sugar out completely. Going two to three days without eating any sugar may be what your body needs to detox, reduce your cravings, and retrain your taste buds.

Hide It

When cookies or candy are sitting in plain sight, it’s hard to resist the urge. Avoid temptation by keeping sweets out of your home altogether. Don’t walk down the cookie aisle at the grocery store. Look the other way when you pass by the vending machine. Ask your family and coworkers to be sympathetic to your efforts. Whatever you’ve got to do, it may be painful now, but the end result will be worth it!

Eat Healthy Meals

Your body starts to crave unhealthy foods when your blood sugar is low. Keep your blood sugar levels balanced by eating at regular intervals during the day. Aim for a source of protein and fiber at every meal and snack to help fill you up and provide lasting energy. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins are what you should keep on hand for healthy eating.

Have an Occasional Treat

Sometimes enjoying a little of what you’re craving is better than denying yourself completely. Otherwise you may give up on your goal and eat the whole bag of cookies or box of donuts. Indulge in a small serving of your favorite sweet every once in a while. Make it count by savoring each bite.

Distract Yourself

When the cravings hit and all you can think about is a cold soda or a bar of chocolate, distract yourself. Take your mind off your craving and go for a walk, turn on the radio, drink some water, or call a friend.

Enjoy Healthy Sweets

Unlike added sweeteners, natural sugars are not the enemy. Fruits are naturally sweet and are a healthy option when you’re craving something sweet. A handful of dried fruit, a bunch of frozen grapes, or a few apple slices provide fiber, nutrients, and sweetness.

Many people turn to artificial sweeteners to satisfy their sweet tooth and attempt to avoid weight gain. Studies, however, show the exact opposite is likely to happen, as artificial sweeteners make you crave more sugar and will actually cause you to put on pounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2009-2010 Keuilian Inc. 
Powered by FitPro Magazine™Terms of Service | Legal Disclaimer
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Five reasons why you’re experiencing water retention.

Five reasons why you’re experiencing water retention.

 

 

Up to 70 percent of your body is made of water. It’s in your blood, organs, muscles, and bones, and it is essential for every body function. Because you lose water by sweating, breathing, and using the restroom, your water supply needs frequent replenishing. For various reasons, the body can occasionally keeps more water than it needs. This causes you to look puffy and swollen and feel bloated. For someone trying to slim down, water retention is a nuisance.

In some cases water retention is caused by diet or lifestyle choices. Other times it’s a sign of a more serious health condition. Here are a few of the more common causes of water retention and what you can do about them.

Lack of Exercise

Sit or stand most of the day? Then you’re at a greater risk for water retention, especially in the legs and ankles. Physical activity keeps the blood circulating throughout the body, but sitting or standing for prolonged periods causes blood to settle in the legs. When this happens, pressure is placed on the capillaries, causing fluid to be leaked into the body.

Whenever you’re sitting or standing in place for a long time, take breaks to walk around, flex your feet, or rotate your ankles to keep the blood circulating.

Diet

Eat fast food for lunch, chips for snack, and a frozen meal for dinner? Then it’s no wonder you deal with water retention. Sodium in moderate amounts is important for health, but too much will increase your blood pressure and cause the body to hold onto water. Limit your salt intake to fewer than 2,300 milligrams a day. When you do eat a meal high in sodium, offset its effects by drinking plenty of water and eating foods high in potassium (bananas, sweet potatoes, and spinach).

Hormones

As if cramps and a bad mood aren’t enough, women often deal with water retention, weight gain, and bloating in the days leading up their monthly period. Fluctuating hormone levels are to blame. After a few days, things should go back to normal, allowing you to fit into your favorite jeans again.

Medications

Certain medications come with the negative side effect of water retention. These include medications used to treat high blood pressure, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, chemotherapy drugs, antidepressants, beta-blockers, hormone replacement therapy drugs, and birth control pills. If your medication is making your body hold onto water, talk with your physician about potential options.

Health Conditions

There are times water retention is caused by an underlying health condition. For this reason, if you notice bloating and swelling that lasts for weeks at a time and is not related to any reason listed above, see your doctor.

Health conditions that may cause water retention include a weak heart that’s unable to effectively pump blood, faulty heart valves that aren’t able to pump blood through the heart, blood clots, varicose veins, cirrhosis of the liver, kidney failure, chronic inflammation, severe malnutrition, or thyroid disease. Kidney,liver, or ovarian cancers can also be a contributor to water retention.

Get Relief

In most cases, a few simple lifestyle changes can help reduce water retention. For starters, eat a low-sodium diet and get regular exercise five days a week. Swelling in your legs can be relieved by elevating your feet above your heart or by wearing compression stockings that squeeze your legs to keep blood circulating. If necessary, your doctor may prescribe a diuretic, a water pill that increases the amount of urine your body produces and expels.