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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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10 Organic Foods That Are Worth the Money

1.Apples


The FDA states that more pesticides are found on apples than are found on any other fruit or vegetable — a grand total of 36. One test found seven chemicals on a single apple. Sounds like a good reason to switch to pesticide-free organic produce to me.

Of course, if you do eat apples or any other fruit, use them sparingly and never consume them in the form of fruit juice, which is basically just a glass full of fructose.

No organic? Peel your apples

2.Baby Foods..
An infant’s immune system is less developed than an adult’s, and more vulnerable. Nonorganic baby foods tend to use fruits and vegetables that have been treated with chemicals.

No organic? Make your own purees by tossing organic fruits and vegetables into the blender.

3.Butter and Milk..


Dairy cows eat grains that are heavily treated with chemicals, which show up in the milk. Non-organic milk can also contain bovine growth hormone and antibiotics.

However, RAW milk is nearly always better than organic milk if it is purchased from a conscious farmer. In that case, it may not be certified organic, but it will essentially be organic anyway, and drinking your milk raw is KEY. The linked article should have written loads about this difference, but failed entirely to do so.

4.Cantaloupe
Cantaloupes often are contaminated by five of the longest-lasting chemicals. Dieldrin, a very toxic and carcinogenic insecticide, still gets taken up through the cantaloupe’s roots even though it was banned in 1974.

No organic? Thoroughly wash the outside of the melon, since a knife can drag exterior residues through the flesh as you slice it.

5.Cucumbers


Cucumbers were ranked the 12th most contaminated food and the second in cancer risk due to their pesticide content.

No organic? Peel the cucumbers, since the waxes used to make the skin shiny also tend to hold chemicals.

6.Grapes….


Grapes get treated with numerous chemicals, especially Chilean grapes, which can be sprayed with as many as 17 of them. Grapes are also, whether organic or not, especially high in fructose — you might want to consider eating the grape skins and leaving the grape itself alone.
No organic? Search out grapes grown domestically; they are treated with fewer chemicals.
7.Green Beans ..
There are over 60 pesticides that are registered for use on green beans in the U.S.

No organic? Choose fresh beans over canned or frozen. Wash them well.

8.Spinach …..


The chemicals used to treat spinach may cause cancer or interfere with hormone production.

No organic? Vigilantly wash each leaf separately under running water.

9.Strawberries..


Strawberries are among the most contaminated of all produce. Once again, be wary of overdoing it with fructose when you eat fruit.

No organic? Choose local berries over long-distance ones (which generally involve more spraying). The package should say where they’re from, or the supermarket’s produce manager should know.

10.Winter Squash..
Winter squash, like cantaloupe, can absorb dieldrin from the soil.

No organic? Buy Mexican. The soil in Mexico is largely uncontaminated by dieldrin.

Source: Real Simple November 2010

 

Iodine

What is iodine?

Iodine is a trace mineral and essential nutrient. In its natural state, it is grayish-black in color and lustrous in appearance. It is commonly found in sea water; many soils located near coastal areas are also rich in iodine.

Why do you need it?

Iodine plays a crucial role in the normal function of the thyroid gland. It is also essential for the production of thyroid hormones, which in turn are necessary for maintaining normal cell metabolism.

How much iodine should you take?

According to the National Academy of Sciences, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for iodine is as follows:

* Adult men: 150 micrograms/day
* Adult women: 150 micrograms/day
* Children aged 7-10: 120 micrograms/day
* Infants: between 40-50 micrograms/day
* Pregnant/lactating women: between 175-200 micrograms/day

What are some good sources of iodine?

Iodized salt is the primary food source of iodine. Iodine can also be found in seafood; kelp, cod, sea bass, haddock and perch are particularly good sources. Dairy products and vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil also contain large amounts of the mineral.

What can happen if you do not get enough iodine?

Iodine deficiency is uncommon in Western society; in fact, the typical Western diet contains about four times the recommended daily allowance of iodine. However, people who avoid dairy products, seafood, processed foods and iodized salt can become deficient.

Iodine deficiency can lead to decreased thyroid function, goiter, and cretinism, a condition marked by dry skin, swelling around the lips and nose, and impaired mental function.

What can happen if I take too much?

In addition to being linked to iodine deficiency, some studies suggest that goiter may also be caused by excessive iodine intake. Other studies have linked high amounts of iodine to an increased risk of thyroid cancer.

Source:ChiroFind.com