Tag Archives: Organic farming

Abdominal fat or belly fat

As people go through their middle years, their proportion of fat to body weight tends to increase. Extra pounds tend to park themselves around the midsection. At one time, we might have accepted this as an inevitable fact of aging. But we’ve now been put on notice that as our waistlines grow, so do our health risks. Abdominal, or visceral fat is of particular concern because it’s a key player in a variety of health problems. The good news is that visceral fat yields fairly easily to exercise and diet, with benefits ranging from lower blood pressure to more favorable cholesterol levels.

Though the term  abdominal fat  or belly fat might sound dated, “middle-age spread” is a greater concern than ever. As people go through their middle years, their proportion of fat to body weight tends to increase — more so in women than men. Extra pounds tend to park themselves around the midsection.
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At one time, we might have accepted these changes as an inevitable fact of aging. But we’ve now been put on notice that as our waistlines grow, so do our health risks. Abdominal, or visceral fat is of particular concern because it’s a key player in a variety of health problems — much more so than subcutaneous fat, the kind you can grasp with your hand. Visceral fat, on the other hand, lies out of reach, deep within the abdominal cavity, where it pads the spaces between our abdominal organs.

Visceral fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.

Are you pear-shaped or apple-shaped?…….CLICK & SEE….

Fat accumulated in the lower body (the pear shape) is subcutaneous, while fat in the abdominal area (the apple shape) is largely visceral. Where fat ends up is influenced by several factors, including heredity and hormones. As the evidence against abdominal fat mounts, researchers and clinicians are trying to measure it, correlate it with health risks, and monitor changes that occur with age and overall weight gain or loss. .

The good news is that visceral fat yields fairly easily to exercise and diet, with benefits ranging from lower blood pressure to more favorable cholesterol levels. Subcutaneous fat located at the waist — the pinchable stuff — can be frustratingly difficult to budge, but in normal-weight people, it’s generally not considered as much of a health threat as visceral fat is.

Research suggests that fat cells — particularly abdominal fat cells — are biologically active. It’s appropriate to think of fat as an endocrine organ or gland, producing hormones and other substances that can profoundly affect our health. Although scientists are still deciphering the roles of individual hormones, it’s becoming clear that excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, disrupts the normal balance and functioning of these hormones.

Scientists are also learning that visceral fat pumps out immune system chemicals called cytokines — for example, tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6 — that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These and other biochemicals are thought to have deleterious effects on cells’ sensitivity to insulin, blood pressure, and blood clotting.

One reason excess visceral fat is so harmful could be its location near the portal vein, which carries blood from the intestinal area to the liver. Substances released by visceral fat, including free fatty acids, enter the portal vein and travel to the liver, where they can influence the production of blood lipids. Visceral fat is directly linked with higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance means that your body’s muscle and liver cells don’t respond adequately to normal levels of insulin, the pancreatic hormone that carries glucose into the body’s cells. Glucose levels in the blood rise, heightening the risk for diabetes. Now for the good news.

Exercise and dieting can help you get rid of belly fat:

So what can we do about tubby tummies? A lot, it turns out. The starting point for bringing weight under control, in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity — at least 30 minutes per day (and perhaps up to 60 minutes per day) to control weight. Strength training (exercising with weights) may also help fight abdominal fat. Spot exercising, such as doing sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles, but it won’t get at visceral fat.

Diet is also important. Pay attention to portion size, and emphasize complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and lean protein over simple carbohydrates such as white bread, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks. Replacing saturated fats and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats can also help.

Scientists hope to develop drug treatments that target abdominal fat. For example, studies of the weight-loss medication sibutramine (Meridia), have shown that the drug’s greatest effects are on visceral fat.

For now, experts stress that lifestyle, especially exercise, is the very best way to fight visceral fat.
Source: Harvard Health Publication

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New Definitions for Organic Meat and Milk Issued

After a drawn-out debate, the U.S. Agriculture Department has significantly narrowed the definition of organic livestock to animals that spend a third of the year grazing on pasture.

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The new rules also say that “organic” milk and meat must come from livestock grazing on pasture for at least four months of the year, and that 30 percent of their feed must come from grazing.

The old rules said only that animals must have access to pasture.

Once a niche market, the organic industry has grown exponentially in the last 20 years. Organic products are grown without pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or biotechnology.


Source:
SF Gate February 13, 2010

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Cleansing the Heart of Your Existence

Ways to Have a Healthier Home :-

Our homes are often our sanctuaries, keep your home healthy by using natural cleaning products.

Our homes serve as sanctuaries in which we are protected from what is potentially harmful. If we are not careful, however, we can inadvertently surround ourselves with substances that can be toxic to our bodies. It is precisely because we rely on our private spaces to serve as refuges from the world that we must exercise great care when choosing how we build, furnish, cleanse, and decorate our homes. Here are some suggestions for creating a healthier home:

1. Be a conscious consumer. If you buy products that contain wholesome, organic, and inert components, you will avoid most common household toxins. Read labels.

2. Your spaces will be as healthy as they are clean when you use natural cleansers and detergents. Almost everything in the home can be cleaned and disinfected using varying combinations of baking soda, vinegar, salt, tea tree oil, herbs, and gentle castile soap. Organic cotton slipcovers can be washed regularly to keep dust mites at bay and to keep us from close contact with furniture that may be off-gassing toxins.

3. Plants clean and add oxygen to the air you breathe when you place them in your personal spaces. Two plants in each room of your dwelling will rid the air of toxins and pollutants while balancing indoor humidity levels. Air purifiers are an easy way to have clean air and are especially useful in a bedroom. Try and clean your air ducts and furnace and change filters regularly.

4. Natural décor that incorporates pesticide-free wood and fibers, organically grown materials, and nontoxic paints and varnishes adds beauty to your house or apartment while lowering your exposure to unsafe chemicals.

5. Scents can help you maintain a hazard-free home.
As you enter your home after an absence, pay close attention to the dominant fragrance you perceive. You may discover toxins that might otherwise have gone unrecognized.

6. Be aware of the water you drink and bathe in and consider adding a whole-house filter system.


7. Getting a good night’s rest is easier when your bedding is comprised of natural materials.
Organic cotton sheets, down comforters, and wool fiber mattresses offer a wonderful alternative to standard bedclothes.

8. Negative ions are invisible molecules that promote whole-self wellness found in the clean air atop mountains and near rushing water. Equipping your home with a negative-ion generator or salt lamp will ensure that you feel alert and refreshed whenever you are at home.

9. If building a new home, consider carefully the materials you choose and research how much they off-gas toxins. You may not be aware of many glues and hidden substances. Choosing sustainable wood floors over wall-to-wall carpeting can be very beneficial to those with allergies and sensitivities.

Making a few easy changes in your home can provide years of healthy living for you, your family, and pets. A healthy home is a good foundation for living. And whether you use these suggestions or others, the best thing you can do is be aware.

Source: Daily Om

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Quality Vs. Quantity

We live in an age of quantity. The media shapes us with the notion that larger, faster, and more are often synonymous with better. We are told that we need to find more time, more possessions, and more love to be truly happy. A smaller quantity of anything that is high in quality will almost always be more satisfying. A single piece of our favorite chocolate or a thin spread of freshly made preserves can satisfy us more than a full bucket of a product that we aren’t very fond of. Similarly, one fulfilling experience can eclipse many empty moments strung together. It is not the quantity of time that matters, but the quality that you experience during each moment. Every minute is an opportunity to love yourself and others, develop confidence and self-respect, and exhibit courage….CLICK & SEE

Ultimately, quality can make life sweeter. When you focus on quality, all your life experiences can be meaningful. A modest portion of good, healthy food can nourish and satisfy you on multiple levels and, when organically grown, nourish the earth as well. Likewise, a few hours of deep, restful slumber will leave you feeling more refreshed than a night’s worth of frequently interrupted sleep. A few minutes spent with a loved one catching up on the important details about family, work, or community can carry more meaning than two hours spent watching television together.

Often, in the pursuit of quantity we cheat ourselves of quality. Then again, quantity also plays a significant role in our lives. Certain elements, such as hugs, kisses, abundance, and love, are best had in copious amounts that are high in quality. But faced with the choice between a single, heartfelt grin and a lifetime of empty smiles, most would, no doubt, choose the former. Ultimately, it is not how much you live or have or do but what you make of each moment that counts.

Sources: Daily Om

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Ten Reasons to Buy Local Food

locally grown foodBrenton Johnson, an organic farmer and owner of Johnson’s Backyard Garden, came up with this list of top 10 reasons to buy local food, based on his philosophy to live in harmony with the land.

1. Locally grown food tastes better. Food grown in your own community is usually picked within the past day or two. It’s crisp, sweet, and loaded with flavor. Produce flown or trucked in is much older. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles.2. Local produce is better for you. Fresh produce loses nutrients quickly. Locally grown food, purchased soon after harvest, retains its nutrients.

3. Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern industrial agricultural system, varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen simultaneously and withstand harvesting equipment. Only a handful of varieties of fruits and vegetables meet those rigorous demands, so there is little genetic diversity in the plants grown. Local farms, in contrast, grow a huge number of varieties to provide a long season of harvest, an array of eye-catching colors, and the best flavors.

4. Local food is GMO-free. Although biotechnology companies have been trying to commercialize genetically modified fruits and vegetables, they are currently licensing them only to large factory-style farms. Local farmers don’t have access to genetically modified seed, and most of them wouldn’t use it even if they could.

5. Local food supports local farm families. With fewer than 1 million Americans now listing farming as their primary occupation, farmers are a vanishing breed. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middle man and get full retail price for their crops.

6. Local food builds a stronger community. When you buy direct from the farmer, you are re-establishing a time-honored connection between the eater and the grower.

7. Local food preserves open space. As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. The rural landscape will survive only as long as farms are financially viable.

8. Local food helps to keep your taxes in check. Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas suburban development costs more than it generates in taxes.

9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife. A well-managed family farm is a place where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued. Good stewards of the land grow cover crops to prevent erosion and replace nutrients used by their crops. Cover crops also capture carbon emissions and help combat global warming.

10. Local food is about the future. By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, so that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, and abundant food.

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