Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Benefit of Vitamin E

The majority of vitamin E's benefits stem from its antioxidant qualities. That means it combines with oxygen and destroys free radicals. It protects polyunsaturated fats and other oxygen-sensitive compounds such as vitamin A from being destroyed by damaging oxidation reactions.

Vitamin E and Antioxidation

Vitamin E's antioxidant properties are also important to cell membranes. For example, vitamin E protects lung cells that are in constant contact with oxygen and white blood cells that help fight disease.

But the benefits of vitamin E's antioxidant role may actually go much further. There is significant evidence vitamin E can protect against heart disease and may slow the deterioration associated with aging. Critics scoffed at such claims in the past, but an understanding of the importance of vitamin E's antioxidant role may be beginning to pay off. However, as with betacarotene, the effect of vitamin E in preventing heart disease may be both timing-sensitive and dose sensitive.

Vitamin E also acts as an antioxidant in foods. The vitamin E in vegetable oils helps keep them from being oxidized and turning rancid. Likewise, it protects vitamin A in foods from being oxidized. This makes vitamin E a useful food preservative.

The Therapeutic Value of Vitamin E

As an antioxidant with a powerful punch, vitamin E helps prevent cancer, heart disease, strokes, cataracts, and possibly some of the signs of aging.

Vitamin E protects artery walls and keeps the "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from being oxidized. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol marks the beginning of clogged arteries. Vitamin E also keeps the blood thin by preventing blood platelets from clumping together. High levels of vitamin E in the body decrease the risk of a non-fatal heart attack or stroke in most people.

A dynamic cancer fighter, vitamin E protects cells and DNA from damage that can turn cancerous. It reduces the growth of tumors while enhancing immune function and preventing precancerous substances from being turned into carcinogens. Studies with mice show that vitamin E applied to the skin may help prevent skin cancer resulting from exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Women who suffer from fibrocystic breast disease can often find relief with vitamin E supplementation. Fibrocystic breast disease is characterized by painful breasts, sometimes with benign lumps or swelling, starting several days before the menstrual period. Researchers aren't sure why vitamin E helps this condition, but numerous studies indicate that it does.

Vitamin E can be beneficial to people with diabetes. It enhances the action of insulin and improves blood glucose metabolism by reducing oxidative stress.

This humble nutrient keeps the nervous system healthy by protecting the myelin sheaths that surround nerves. It also appears to prevent mental degeneration due to aging, possibly including Alzheimer disease.

Athletes need to get adequate amounts of vitamin E. The body's own metabolism creates free radicals during excessive aerobic exercise. Vitamin E reserves make sure these free radicals don't get out of hand and cause trouble. Vitamin E therapy also treats claudication-pains in the calf muscles that occur at night or during exercise.

Premature babies receive vitamin E to reduce or prevent oxygen damage to the retina of the eye as a result of artificial ventilation.

Ongoing animal studies suggest that vitamin E may limit lung damage caused by air pollution. It appears that vitamin E can reduce the activity of such common air pollutants as ozone and nitrogen dioxide.

Vitamin E applied to cuts may very well increase the healing rate because it minimizes oxidation reactions in the wound and also keeps the wound moist.

Many women report that vitamin E helps reduce hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.
Though vitamin E can slow down the oxidation of fats that occurs in aging, experimental studies have not shown it to increase the life span of animals. Neither has it been shown to control such signs of aging as wrinkled skin or gray hair.

However, the vitamin may indeed delay or prevent some diseases or a loss of function related to aging. Recent studies have reported improved short-term memory in older adults who took supplemental vitamin E. While vitamin E may not make you live longer, it may help you live a little better as you get older.

There are many more uses of vitamin E that science is only beginning to investigate. This helpful vitamin will probably continue to make the news every so often.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5 ways to ease hunger pains

Do you start getting hunger pangs at 11:50 a.m. in anticipation of lunch? We've all been there. The cause is the hormone ghrelin; released when the stomach is empty, it sets off a chain reaction in the body to make you hungry. In general, you want to keep levels of ghrelin low during the day so you can keep hunger in check. Apart from an empty stomach, there are several factors that can raise ghrelin levels, including drinking alcohol, eating too few calories, and eating greasy, fatty foods. Here are some strategies that will help you manage these triggers and keep your ghrelin levels from rising:

Have a substantial breakfast. One study showed that people who ate a higher-calorie breakfast produced 33 percent less ghrelin throughout the day and felt satisfied for a longer period of time. Try a whole-wheat English muffin with organic peanut butter, a cup of strawberries, and some low-fat yogurt.

Choose complex carbs and get more fiber. Insulin and ghrelin go hand in hand. When insulin goes up after you eat, ghrelin goes down. If you eat the wrong kind of carbohydrates — refined carbs such as white bread and pasta — your blood sugar rises dramatically. In response, your body releases a surge of insulin to clear that sugar from the bloodstream. The insulin does its job very efficiently, and the resulting low blood sugar causes hunger sooner. These constant blood sugar ups and downs can wreak havoc on your metabolism, so it's best to eat complex carbs and fiber, which delay the release of sugar into the bloodstream so that insulin levels are kept stable and you feel full longer.

Eat on a schedule. Research has found that ghrelin levels rise and fall at your usual mealtimes, so eating on a schedule prevents spikes in ghrelin. If you're running errands and are away from the kitchen at one of your typical mealtimes, carry a small bag of almonds or other nuts with you — you can eat a little something to keep your stomach satisfied until you can get home and have a real meal.

Emphasize high-volume, low-calorie foods. Levels of ghrelin remain high until food stretches the walls of your stomach, making you feel full. High-volume, low-calorie foods, such as salads and soups, reduce ghrelin levels long before you've overeaten. All green veggies and any foods with a high water content count as high-volume, low-calorie foods.

Eat protein. Protein-rich foods can also suppress ghrelin levels — they help create a long-lasting feeling of fullness. Try adding whey protein to a low-calorie smoothie. (If you're sensitive to gluten, just be sure to check the ingredients list; some whey protein products contain gluten.) One study found that whey brought about a prolonged suppression of ghrelin.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Best Low Fat Ice Cream and Frozen Treats

By Molly Raisch at Prevention Mag

Ice cream is the perfect remedy to steamy, hot weather, but sometimes the calorie counts on the carton are downright scary. That's why we found frozen desserts that don't melt under scrutiny. These healthy treats get our vote (with a cherry on top!).

So Delicious Dairy Free Vanilla Frozen Dessert (½ cup)

Nutrition: 130 cal; 1 g pro; 13 g sugar; 3 g fiber; 3 g fat

Like: This soy treat tastes just like the real deal, making it perfect for people who have lactose intolerance.

Healthy takeaway: Some dairy-free varieties--based on soy, coconut, and rice milk--can be high in fat and sugar.

Breyers French Chocolate Fat Free (½ cup)

Nutrition: 90 cal; 3 g pro; 13 g sugar; 4 g fiber; 0 g fat

Like: Our pick has less fat than many premium frozen desserts and also boasts fiber, which gives it more texture.

Healthy takeaway: Be cautious about fudge ribbons, which are mostly corn syrup with a dab of artificial dye.

Stonyfield Farm Organic Nonfat Frozen Yogurt (½ cup)

Nutrition: 100 cal; 4 g pro; 18 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 0 g fat

Like: This carton is packed with the good-for-your-gut bacteria that we love in yogurt.

Healthy takeaway: Other fro-yos lure you in by touting their "live and active cultures," but the actual yogurt portion can be minuscule.

Ciao Bella Blood Orange Sorbet (½ cup)

Nutrition: 60 cal; 0 g pro; 16 g sugar; 0 g fiber; 0 g fat

Like: A keeper! It's bursting with flavor, plus it has 50% of your daily vitamin C intake.

Healthy takeaway: Many sorbets have no real fruit in sight. Steer clear of ones with ice cream swirls, which drive up the calories and fat.

Julie's Organic Juliette Ice Cream Sandwiches (1 bar)

Nutrition: 100 cal; 2 g pro; 6 g sugar; 0 g fiber; 0 g fat

Like: You're less likely to overindulge because these organic novelty bars are portion controlled for you.

Healthy takeaway: Some ice-cream sandwiches swap the wafers for cookies, doubling the calories.

Edy's All Natural Fruit Bars Strawberry (1 bar)

Nutrition: 80 cal; 0 g pro; 20 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 0 g fat

Like: The real strawberry bits in this pop taste like summer. No high fructose corn syrup here.

Healthy takeaway: Beware varieties that resemble a chemistry project: Would you like a little sodium benzoate with your polysorbate 80?

Enjoying Foods without Cheating

Here's a big mistake people make when they set out to lose weight: They say to themselves, "Okay, I'm on a diet, so I'm never eating [insert tempting high-calorie food here] again." And then, inevitably, they slip up and binge on that food. They beat themselves up about it, write off their entire healthy-living experiment as a failure, and give up.......Sound familiar?

Living a healthy life is all about balance. You have to learn how to walk a line between self-denial and self-indulgence. It's the middle ground between the two that offers the best foundation on which to build your new life. Denying yourself little pleasures such as the occasional glass of wine or chocolate truffle will only make you feel deprived, frustrated, and ultimately hopeless about maintaining your discipline. A temptation is a lot less powerful if it isn't totally forbidden. This is where moderation comes in.

I will never be able to give up all the edible goodies life has to offer, but by practicing moderation I've found a solution to my weaknesses that I can live with every day. There's room for all foods, no matter how "bad" they are; it's just a matter of being conscious and careful of how often you eat them and how much. It's fine to have a piece of cake now and then — just not every day, and not the whole cake.

I can already hear what you're thinking: "If I eat a little bit, I'll want it all." We all have at least one food that we truly can't eat a little of without going overboard. Mine is ice cream. If you know that a particular food has that kind of trigger effect on you, try choosing an alternative. I will often have a few bites of organic dark chocolate instead of ice cream so that my sweet tooth will be satisfied but I won't end up with an empty ice cream carton in my hands. If your weakness is potato chips, try having some air-popped popcorn as a snack instead. Trust me — in time you can adapt so that small amounts of "cheat" foods will not set you off on a binge.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

4 steps for positive self-talk while exercising

When it comes to exercise, sometimes the desire is not enough. You may wake up in the morning knowing that the benefits of working out will improve both your body and your mood, but the lack of motivation prevents you from actually getting out of your warm bed. That’s where positive self talk comes in.

Self-talk is extremely powerful and will eventually determine how you see yourself. For example, if you tell yourself every day that exercising is too hard, your mind will eventually come to believe it, and you will lose all hope of making these changes in your life. Both negative and positive self-talk can be self-fulfilling, so it is important to stay positive mentally in order to reach your workout goals. Read on for steps to improving your self-talk, along with a few positive words to help set the stage!

4 Steps for Positive Self-Talk

1. Get started.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” —Mark Twain
“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.” Anon

Most times, the hardest part of exercising is just motivating yourself to get started. For many of us, this lack of motivation is caused by negative self-talk, such as the belief that you have no willpower to exercise or that you’re so out of shape that you shouldn’t even start. Instead of thinking this way, tell yourself that exercising is more than just willpowerit is planning, thinking positively and identifying what exactly you need to change in order to achieve your goal. Understand that wishful thinking by itself will not get you anywhere physically. It is time to become proactive.

2. Find the time.
“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” Edward Stanley
“Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces and which most men throw away.” Charles Caleb Colton

It is true that we only have 24 hours per day, but this should never be an excuse for not exercising. Think of all the time you may waste each day on unproductive activities, such as watching TV or surfing the internet. Understand that even a half hour of exercising instead will lead to significant improvements in your health and well-being. Time management is all about prioritizing, and it is crucial that staying both physically and mentally healthy through exercise be one of the top priorities on your list.

3. Find a physical activity that you enjoy.
“Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body, cheerfulness of mind, and these make use precious to our friends.” Thomas Jefferson
“An hour of basketball feels like 15 minutes. An hour on a treadmill feels like a weekend in traffic school.” David Walters

Physical activity shouldn’t seem like a chore or torture. If you constantly hear yourself talking about how much you hate exercising, try engaging in a different type of physical activity. While some people may enjoy running for long periods of time, other people may enjoy playing a sport, such as tennis or volleyball. It is important for you to find activities that you are comfortable with and enjoy doing because this will ensure that you stick with it for longer. If you are tired of doing the same old routine over and over again, switch it up! You are not confined by rules governing how you must exercisethis is entirely up to you. If you are trying to both get rid of fat and gain muscle, consider alternating cardio exercises with strength-training exercises.

4. Push yourself.
“You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy.” Arthur Ashe
“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” Vince Lombardi

Your body right now is the result of everything you have done and all the effort you have put into maintaining it. If this current state is not satisfactory for you, you are the only one who can make those changes. Get rid of your inner critic and focus instead on all the positive changes you have made. For example, instead of thinking about how you missed a day of exercise, think instead about how you exercised three times this week.

Negative self-talk will cause feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy, feelings that will eventually cause you to stop pushing yourself. Change this inner voice to someone more encouraging and positive in order to stay motivated and energetic about reaching greater heights.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Salmon and Lentils with Morocaan Tomato Sauce

Salmon and Lentils With Moroccan Tomato Sauce


  • 1/4 cup sliced organic almonds, divided
  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed
  • 14 1/2 ounces reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed (whole or ground)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed (whole or ground)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom pods (whole or ground)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (whole or ground)
  • 3 whole cloves or 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 14 1/2 ounces peeled, no-salt-added tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
  • 12 ounces salmon fillet, (4 3-ounce fillets), boned and skinned

* Always buy broth in cardboard containers instead of cans.


  1. Spread the organic almonds on an ungreased baking pan. Place in a 350-degree oven and bake 5 to 10 minutes or until almonds are light brown; stir once or twice to ensure even browning. Note that almonds will continue to brown slightly after removing from oven.
  2. In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring lentils and broth to boil; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, put all whole spices in a grinder and process until well ground, or if using ground spices, combine them in a small bowl.
  4. Coat a skillet lightly with vegetable cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic; sauté about 5 minutes until translucent. Mix in 1 1/4 teaspoons of the spice mixture, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  5. In an electric blender, pulse tomatoes just until roughly puréed; add to pan with hot pepper sauce and heat through. Set aside.
  6. In small bowl, mix remaining spices, salt and pepper; rub onto both sides of salmon fillets.
  7. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat lightly with vegetable cooking spray; add salmon to pan without crowding. Sauté salmon 4 minutes; turn, cover and cook 3 to 6 minutes longer, depending on thickness, or until cooked throughout.
  8. Stir two tablespoons of organic almonds into lentils; divide among four plates. Top with salmon and tomato sauce. Sprinkle with remaining almonds.

Makes 4 servings.

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Nutrition Facts

Number of Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 343

Total Fat: 10 g

Saturated Fat: 1 g

Cholesterol: 44 mg

Sodium: 512 mg

Total Carbohydrate: 29 g

Dietary Fiber: 14 g

Protein: 28 g

Recipe Source: California Almond Board

7 tips to control your appetite

If you suffer from constant food cravings, there are some steps you can take to remedy the situation. The first step is to make sure you're eating correctly for your metabolic type. This will help a lot. If you're certain that you are eating as you should for your metabolic type and you still feel hungry all the time, consider these tips to curb your appetite:

Don't skip meals. You should be eating three square meals a day, plus one snack, and spacing your meals throughout the day so that you don't go longer than four hours without eating. This will keep your blood sugar levels and hunger hormones stable.

Drink tons of water. When you feel as if you're starving, pour yourself a huge glass of water or grab a bottle of seltzer — it will help quell the urge to snack.

Sleep! Two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, regulate our appetite, and both are directly affected by how much sleep we get. These hormones work in a kind of "checks and balances" system to control feelings of hunger and fullness. Getting eight hours of shut-eye each night helps the hormones work properly, which in turn will help curb your appetite.

Examine your hunger. The next time you feel hungry between meals, consider the last time you ate. If it was less than three to four hours earlier, your stomach isn't growling, and you're not weak or tired, you're probably emotionally unsatisfied in some way rather than genuinely physically hungry.

Think about what, besides eating, soothes you. Steer yourself toward positive feelings of self-worth and you'll choose activities and behaviors that inherently contradict self-loathing and self-destructiveness.

Don't panic. You can and will lose weight. Even if you're eating a little more than the meal plan calorie allowance, you can still lose — it just might take a little longer. Exercise is also crucial. Working out harder and more often will help burn the extra calories you might take in if you have a bad day.

Do not beat yourself up! Sometimes we slip up, and that's okay — healthy living is not an all-or-nothing proposition. I'm here for you, and I know you can do this. Believe in yourself and try to incorporate my suggestions into your life, and let's see how you do.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Becoming the person you want to be

To be nobody but yourself--in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else-- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

- EE Cummings, poet

Becoming the person you want to be

Take a look at your priorities and your goals. Where did they come from? Are they the products of soul-searching, self-analysis, and careful planning? Or are they a reaction to pressures from other people? Did you find them within yourself or within the pages of a magazine? The answers to these questions are important because they tell you if the person you're becoming is someone you want to be. Here's another way to look at a goal: do you want it, or do you just think you should want it? It's not easy to follow your own direction in life. But it's more possible than you may think. Question everything. Every priority in your life needs to justify why it's there. If you can't come up with a good reason that actually comes from YOU, maybe it doesn't belong.