Friday, November 20, 2009

Sublime Sleep

In planning for a super night’s sleep, think about methods that are conducive to slumber. Examine the patterns you have already in place and determine areas for improvement. Some basic rules apply that enhance the journey to productive sleep.

Don't drink alcohol within four hours of bedtime because it will cause shallow sleep. Limit coffee or other caffeine-laden beverages from noon on. Your afternoon jolt may risk your evening rest: The stimulating effects of caffeine last up to 12 hours. Also, beware of pain medications that are caffeine based.

As evening approaches, lower lights (at least by 8PM) to inform your body that night approaches.

Limit exercising in the final three hours prior to your bedtime. Exercise can act as a stimulate to the body and interrupt sleep patterns.
After going to bed, don’t spend time watching the clock. Checking it every few minutes to see how little time you have left to sleep will only make you more anxious and increase alertness. If sleep does not come within a reasonable time frame, get up. Turn to a relaxing activity (reading, listening to music, warm bath) and return to bed later.
If sleep still seems impossible, remain horizonal and relax. Even reclining in a sleeping position can aide the body in it's restoration and repair. Happy dreams!

Natural Sleep Herbal Options

Herbal supplementation can aide in producing restful, restorative sleep. Choose options that offer best results for you. Check with your doctor before using supplements if you are taking other medications.

Kava Kava: Considered a natural tranquilizer that can reduce anxiety, thereby promoting sleep. Don't take with alcohol, tranquilizers or antidepressants.
Hops: may help relax the nervous system. Don’t use if pregnant; may cause upset stomach in some people.
Valerian Root: reliable treatment for nervousness and insomnia. Mildly unpleasant odor and taste; high doses can cause headaches and grogginess.
Chamomile: soothe nerves and promote relaxation. Beware, if you have hay-fever allergies, you may be allergic to chamomile as well.
Passionflower: calming effect on the central nervous system. Avoid if you are taking medication for hypertension.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Best Vitamins for Weight Loss

The body's weight-related functions - like appetite, hunger, metabolic rate, calorie-burning, metabolism of fats and sugars, - function more efficiently with an optimum intake of vitamins. All of these listed assist in maintaining optimum health and weight, and many operate together. The most important vitamins and minerals for weight loss are: Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Choline / Inositol (part of B-complex) and Vitamin C.
B2 (Riboflavin) for normal metabolism and thyroid function. Food sources: Milk, eggs, liver and kidney, almonds, hard cheese, wheat germ, and leafy green vegetables.

B3 (Niacin) is essential for normal thyroid hormone production and part of the glucose tolerance factor (GTF) which is released every time blood sugar rises. Food sources: Wheat bran, dried fruit, brown rice, liver, tuna, turkey, chicken, meat, eggs, mackerel, salmon, oats, barley, cheese.

Low levels of B5 (Pantothenic Acid) interfere with capacity to utilize fat and play an important role in energy production and assisting adrenal function. Food sources: eggs, molasses, oats, barley, beans, wholegrain bread, green vegetables, liver and kidney, meat, poultry, nuts, wheat bran, wheat germ.

B6 (Pyridoxine) regulates the production of thyroid hormone and metabolism. Food sources: brewer's yeast, wheat bran, wheat germ, oats, sardines, mackerel, poultry, beef, bananas, brown rice, cabbage, dried fruit, avocado, molasses, eggs.

Choline, produced in the liver, is not a real vitamin. It is needed for efficient fat metabolism. Deficiency leads to fats becoming trapped in the liver. Food sources: lecithin, wheat germ, cauliflower, cucumber, beef liver and heart, egg yolks, peanuts.

Inositol is also manufactured inside the body. Inositol combines with Choline to assist in fat metabolism. Food sources: lecithin, citrus fruits, whole grains, nuts, wheat germ, soy, beef heart, beef liver, eggs.

Vitamin C provides a variety of health benefits including energy in the cells to proper conversion of glucose. Food sources: blackcurrants, lemons, oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruits, broccoli, green peppers, Brussels Sprouts, cabbage.

Exercise for Weight Loss

Exercise is very useful for minimizing the 'plateau' or ‘brick wall’ effect of dieting, which occurs within a few weeks of starting a diet. This is the result of your body as it 'adjusts' to a lower calorie-intake.
Exercise is also necessary to decrease the effects of middle age spread in men and menopause & osteoporosis in women. Muscles and bones respond to activity, increasing agility and flexibility. This change in the body aids in reducing accidents and increases stability as well as increases calorie burn resulting in weight loss.
If you desire to start exercising, but don't know what to do, here are some simple tips:

  • Talk to your physician and check your fitness level before beginning a new program. A well trained fitness trainer can assist you in understanding your fitness goals.
  • Create an exercise plan to address your fitness goals. Again, check with a fitness trainer to correctly choose the program that targets your specific needs or trouble spots.
  • Try to enlist your spouse, children or friend to become your exercise buddy. You can encourage each other to success.
  • Schedule a regular time for exercise daily. A routine helps to reach success. Weigh at the same time each day to stimulate your determination to reach fitness.

10 Superfoods to Add to Diet for Stress Relief

  • Asparagus: Folic acid—mood stabilizer
  • Blueberries: High in fiber, low in calories. Good source of stress fighting Vitamin C
  • Beef: High levels zinc, B vitamins and iron. Stabilizes mood
  • Tuna: Source of Vitamin B6 and B12
  • Milk: Source B6, B12, Calcium, protein
  • Cottage Cheese & Fruit: Source for calcium, protein and Vitamin C
  • Cornflakes: Fortified with B vitamins and folic acid
  • Almonds: Source B2, E, zinc, magnesium
  • Onions: herbal nervine, natural relaxer