Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Scariest Day of the Week Is...

...Monday. Why? Our blood pressure soars on Mondays. The stress of returning to work on Monday morning can trigger a dangerous increase in blood pressure, the BBC News reports of a new study from Tokyo Women's Medical University.

This may explain why there are more deaths from heart attacks and strokes on Monday morning than any other time of the week.

"If somebody already has cardiovascular disease, then it might just tip them over the edge and trigger a heart attack," Keith Fox of the cardiovascular research unit at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary told the BBC. There are 20 percent more heart attacks on Mondays than on any other day. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, and the higher it climbs, the greater the force exerted by blood on the walls of the arteries every time the heart beats.

The study: Blood pressure can vary widely from one day to the next, so to measure how it changed throughout the week the Tokyo team fitted 175 men and women with a device that would measure their blood pressure 24/7. The special blood pressure devices were used for one week.

The results: Among those who went to work on Monday morning, there was a surge of blood pressure as they got ready for work. Those who could sleep in and not work on Monday did not experience the same increase, which suggests work-related stress is to blame for the increased blood pressure. "Most people are free of the mental and physical burdens of work on a Sunday and experience a more stressful change from weekend leisure activities to work activities on Mondays," Dr. Shuogo Murakami, who led the research, told the BBC. "There was a distinct peak on Mondays in this study."

Here's the good news: An early morning peak in blood pressure is probably a normal part of the body's 24-hour rhythm and is not likely to be a problem for healthy people. The Monday morning blood pressure surge could be caused by a weekend of late nights followed by mornings spent sleeping in. The study results were published in the American Journal of Hypertension.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Eat this: it will help you lose weight

Eat almonds and you'll not only lower your cholesterol, but also lose weight. That's the word from two different scientific studies that may turn the lowly almond into the hottest new health food.

Eat almonds and lose weight
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity compared two groups of people who were placed on a 1,000-calorie-a-day liquid diet. One group also ate three ounces of almonds every day. The other group was allowed to eat a mix of complex carbohydrates that included wheat crackers, baked potatoes, and air-popped popcorn.

The group that ate the almonds lost more weight--even though the calorie counts for the two groups were identical. In addition, their systolic blood pressure dropped 11 percent, compared to no change in the other group. Why is this significant? It's long been assumed that a calorie is the same no matter where it comes from. Even though the group eating the almonds consumed more fat, they lost more weight. Their Body Mass Index readings dropped 18 percent, compared with the other group's 11 percent.

Why do almonds seem to help us lose weight? In a news release announcing the findings, the researchers speculate that almonds contain a special kind of fat that may not be completely absorbed by the body and instead acts as a barrier to other types of fat.

Eat almonds and lower your cholesterol
According to a study published in the journal Metabolism, a diet high in almonds and other heart-healthy foods achieved a 35 percent decrease in LDL, or "bad," cholesterol in just two weeks. A proven heart-healthy diet that was studied in a control group, lowered cholesterol just 12 percent.

It's been known for some time that individual foods, including almonds, oatmeal, and foods high in soy protein, lower cholesterol. Now researchers from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada and the University of Toronto led by Dr. David Jenkins have determined that creating a dietary plan that includes all these foods in combination is just as effective as taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins.

The dietary plan that is packed with all these cholesterol-lowering foods is called the Portfolio plan. In addition to almonds, it includes margarine enriched with plant sterols, oats, barley, eggplant, okra, tofu, soy milk, and meat alternatives made from soy. Almonds are the only nut included in the Portfolio diet. They contain vegetable protein, plant sterols, and fiber and are rich in vitamin E.

"What we didn't know before conducting our series of Portfolio studies is that these foods can achieve such a dramatic cholesterol-lowering effect when eaten in combination--and that it can happen so quickly," said Jenkins in a news release announcing the study, which was presented at the American Heart Association's annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

One Kind of Candy Fights Tooth Decay

Eat your licorice! Thanks to compounds from the Chinese herb Glycyrrhiza uralensis, which is commonly referred to as licorice root or Chinese licorice, this favorite candy appears to be effective in fighting the bacteria that cause tooth decay, according to researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Lead study author Dr. Wenyuan Shi told Reuters Health, "Chewing licorice has been a practice in different cultures. Our findings provide some scientific basis for that." The magic ingredients are active antimicrobial compounds, which are also contained in many other Chinese medicinal herbs. It was from a study on 2,000 of these common herbs that the researchers realized the power of licorice.

Shi's team painstakingly evaluated each of those 2,000 herbs to determine their potential antimicrobial properties, and some of the strongest activity was in experiments involving licorice root, reports Reuters. In test tubes, at least two of the compounds in licorice inhibited the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the primary bacteria responsible for causing cavities.

What does that mean? Licorice has a possible benefit "for promoting oral health with licorice extracts," Shi told Reuters. Still he warned that more research is needed before anyone should take up chewing licorice as a way to prevent cavities.

But just because we should wait, it doesn't mean Shi has to. He and his team are currently developing sugar-free lollipops that contain the active component in licorice which could be used to promote oral health in kids and seniors. Preventing cavities never tasted so sweet!

The study findings were published in the Journal of Natural Products.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Introduction to G. I. Diet

While I was president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario for fifteen years, my job was to raise funds for research into heart disease and stroke and to promote healthy lifestyle choices among Canadians to reduce their risk for those diseases. The Foundation has developed the most comprehensive set of heart disease, stroke and healthy lifestyle resources in Canada. We now know that smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight are all major risk factors for heart attacks and strokes. So a few years ago, when I was twenty pounds overweight, I knew I had to reduce. And with all the information and resources I had, I thought I knew how: I went out and bought a Nordic ski machine and a stationary bike, and I started working out every day. But however hard I exercised, I found I could only stabilize, not lose, the weight. For the first time in my life, I realized I had to go on a diet.

Conventional nutritional wisdom at the time recommended a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. All I had to do was stop eating fatty foods like cheese and ice cream, and start eating more low-fat carbohydrates like pasta, rice and vegetables -- right? Wrong. Though I stuck diligently to the diet, eating pasta and tomato sauce instead of steak and Caesar salad, I wasn’t losing any weight at all. In frustration, I turned to the filing cabinets at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. The Foundation receives literally hundreds of diet books, products and recipes every year, all hoping for support or endorsement. Looking through the files, I quickly ruled out food-specific diets, such as the grapefruit orbanana diet, because they have no scientific basis, are risky to your health, and are impossible to sustain over the long term.

I also decided to avoid high-protein diets since various studies had found them to be a real health hazard. High-protein diets, which drastically limit the amount of carbohydrates you consume, put the body in a state of ketosis. As the body is starved of carbohydrates, your principal source of energy, it starts breaking down protein, including the body’s own lean muscle, for energy, which releases a lot of water weight. This creates toxic by-products called ketones, which are removed from the body through the kidneys and can cause an array of problems, from mild nuisances like bad breath to toxic side effects such as kidney damage, diarrhea, dizziness and kidney stones. And because so much protein blocks calcium absorption, people who follow high-protein diets develop bone weakness too. To complete this tale of woe, when you go off the diet, the water weight loss is quickly replaced, and unless you are into a heavy exercise regimen, the weight you gain back will all be fat; the muscle loss will not be recovered.

So, diets based on a single food, and high-protein diets were out. I was still left with a whole host of diets to try, and I selected one that appeared to be based on sound nutritional principles. After several unsuccessful months with that one, I embarked on another, and then a few months later, another. In the end I tried I don’t know how many of them. I counted calories. I studied labels -- a real challenge with Canadian labelling regulations (or lack thereof). I starved. I hallucinated about food. Sometimes I did lose a few pounds, but then I’d hit the inevitable plateau, unable to go any further. And since I was constantly hungry, I’d soon start eating what I wanted and gain back the few pounds I’d managed to lose.

It seemed like I was destined to spend the rest of my life overweight. It was the most discouraging thing I have ever experienced. I couldn’t understand why losing weight was so difficult, and I felt there had to be a way to slim down and maintain a healthy weight without having to feel hungry every moment of the day, jeopardizing one’s health or requiring a Ph.D. in math to calculate various formulas and ratios. I was determined to find a diet that would work, not only for myself but also for others in the same boat -- gaining weight and increasing their risk for heart disease and stroke, not to mention diabetes.

My quest eventually led me to one of the nutritional researchers supported by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. He introduced me to the G.I., or Glycemic Index, through a book called The Zone by Dr. Barry Sears. The Zone diet is based on the principles of the G.I., which measures the speed at which your body breaks down carbohydrates and converts them to glucose, the vehicle your body uses for energy. The faster the food breaks down, the higher the rating on the index. When trying to lose weight it is critical to avoid foods that have a high G.I. and to eat low-G.I. foods instead. The glycemic index was invented by Dr. David Jenkins, a professor of nutrition at the University of Toronto. Since he was living in my hometown, I decided to pay him a visit.

A lean Englishman who clearly practises what he preaches, Dr. Jenkins explained that early in his research career he became interested in diabetes, a disease that hampers the body’s ability to process carbohydrates and sugar (glucose). Sugar therefore stays in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells, resulting in hypoglycemia and potentially coma. At the time Dr. Jenkins was beginning his research, carbohydrates were severely restricted in a diabetic’s diet as they quickly boost the sugar level in the bloodstream. But because the primary role of carbohydrates is to provide the body with energy, diabetics were having to make up the lack of calories through a high-fat diet, which does not boost sugar levels. As a result, many diabetics were increasingly at risk of dying from heart disease, since fat is a critical factor in the development of that disease. Doctors were in a real quandary: although they were saving diabetics from starvation, they were accelerating their risk of heart disease.

Dr. Jenkins wondered if all carbohydrates are the same. Are some digested more quickly and as a result raise blood sugar levels faster than others? And are others “slow-release,” resulting in only a marginal increase in blood sugar? The answer, Jenkins discovered, is yes. He published an index -- the glycemic index -- in 1980, showing the various rates at which carbohydrates break down and release glucose into the bloodstream.

I decided to try The Zone. To my amazement and delight I lost the twenty pounds that had been plaguing me for so long. I invited some of my friends and associates to try it as well. By the end of twelve months, however, 95 percent had dropped out. They cited two principal reasons for their inability to stick to the diet: 1) it was too complex for everyday life, requiring them to count grams and calculate formulas and ratios; and 2) they were always feeling hungry, which is the death knell for any diet.

The 5 percent who managed to hang in were so happy with their success that I received numerous e-mails from them describing how important their weight control was in their lives. Here are a few of their comments:

Overall, I have lost twenty-two pounds. And I feel more energized . . . I don’t even notice that I’m eating differently. I certainly don’t feel like I’m on a diet; I just feel like I eat in a new way.

Well, with Thanksgiving, two large family dinners, weekend guests, lunches with friends, being on the road and my love of wine and food, I have managed to lose fifteen pounds. I can honestly say my energy is better -- I’m not falling asleep in front of the TV any more.

This weekend, my son returns home from university to attend his commencement ceremonies at his high school. After fourteen years, I will be wearing the same skirt I wore when I dropped him off for his first day of school in Grade 1.

Dismayed by the 95 percent dropout rate but bolstered by the successful 5 percent, I set out to address the two key impediments to success: complexity and hunger. The result is this book. The G.I. Diet is simple to follow and will not leave you feeling hungry. The plan comprises a unique combination of foods that have two essential characteristics: they make you feel full for a longer time, so you are naturally inclined to eat less, and they are low-calorie. If you, like me, have been reading other recent diet books, you will have noticed that the word calorie is never used. But lowering caloric intake is the only route to weight loss, and all those diets are, in fact, low-calorie; it’s just that the word has been omitted. With the G.I. Diet, you won’t need to count calories, or weigh or measure your food. I’ve done all the math for you to create the easiest eating plan possible, one that reflects the demands of the busy world we live in. While most diet books take three hundred pages or more to make their point, The G.I. Diet is simple and concise, with very little scientific jargon. Its most important feature is that it works. You’ll find it so simple to follow, so effective, you’ll never have to pick up a diet book again.
Copyright© 2002 by Rick Gallop

Excerpted from

G. I. Diet: The Easy, Healthy Way to Permanent Weight Loss
by Rick Gallop
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble

Introducing The Glycemic Impact Diet. Lose 10 Pounds in 5 weeks

Sunday, May 25, 2008

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Secrets of the Glycemic Index

All Carbohydrates Are Not Created Equal

If you're confused about carbohydrates, you're not alone. Over the past several years, opinions about the role of carbohydrates in a healthy diet have ranged from "eat more for optimal health" to "nothing could be worse for your health." The truth about carbohydrates, however, lies somewhere in between. The fact is the type of carbohydrates that we eat is one of the foremost predictors of health. As you will see, a diet high in the wrong kinds of carbohydrates can lead to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many of the other health problems that are so pervasive today. On the other hand, a diet that includes the right carbohydrates can help prevent these same diseases and put you on the road to excellent health.

Over the past couple of decades, the medical establishment has paid little attention to the impact of carbohydrates on health and wellness. But a growing body of evidence has made this a topic that can no longer be ignored. The fact is there are good and bad carbohydrates, and making the right choices is crucial to your pursuit of a healthy body weight and optimal health.

What makes some carbohydrate-containing foods better choices than others? One of the most important factors is the rate at which they raise blood sugar levels-or their glycemic index. This chapter will introduce you to this revolutionary way of looking at carbohydrates and show you why all carbs are not created equal. The following chapters will helpyou apply the glycemic index to your everyday life and create simple and satisfying meals that will enhance your health for years to come.

A Brief History of Carbohydrates

To truly understand how carbohydrates affect our health, it's important to look at how the carbohydrates we eat have changed over time. Throughout most of history, the only carbohydrate foods that were available were the wild roots, tubers, fruits, vegetables, and nuts that people foraged for. These foods were loaded with fiber and nutrients, and they were slowly digested and absorbed to provide a slow-release, sustained form of energy.

With the advent of agriculture about 10,000 years ago, people learned to cultivate grains such as wheat, rice, corn, oats, and barley. These foods, which quickly became mainstays in the human diet, were consumed in their natural unprocessed forms. Whole, cracked, or coarsely ground grains were made into porridges or baked into hearty whole-grain breads. These foods, too, were high in fiber and nutrients.

While the introduction of cereal grains substantially changed the human diet, the past 200 years have had an even greater impact on the types of carbohydrates available in the food supply-starting with the invention of high-speed grain mills in the early 1800s. Using this technology, millers learned to remove the fibrous bran and nutritious germ from grains and to make finely ground flour from just the starchy endosperm portion of the grain. People eagerly adopted this new flour, which had a very long storage life and made softer and lighter breads, cakes, and pastries. Unfortunately, this new white flour was also virtually devoid of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in whole grains. And its superfine texture makes it quickly digested and absorbed in the body, causing a rapid release of glucose and insulin into the blood. The past fifty years have brought the most dramatic changes of all to our food supply. For instance:

Products made from quickly digested white flours-such as breads, bagels, crackers, pretzels, and baking mixes-have become staples in most people's diets.

New technologies for processing grains-such as explosion puffing, extruding, and flaking-have been developed. Products made using these technologies, including breakfast cereals, snack foods, and a wide variety of "instant" and "quick-cooking" foods, are also rapidly digested, causing a fast rise in blood glucose and insulin levels. Like white-flour products, these foods make up a large part of many people's diets.

Consumption of refined sugars is at an all-time high.

The serving sizes of refined-carbohydrate foods like muffins, bagels, candy bars, and sodas have grown to enormous proportions.

This deluge of quickly digested nutrient-poor carbohydrates represents much of what's wrong with today's diets. Currently, about 85 percent of all grain products eaten by Americans are refined. And together, refined grains and sugars compose close to 40 percent of all calories eaten! What can you do to bring your diet back into balance? Learning about the glycemic index is a great place to start.

What is the Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of foods based on their potential to raise blood sugar levels. The higher the GI of a food, the faster the resultant rise in blood sugar after eating it. And the higher the GI, the higher the body's insulin response tends to be. Why is this important? High levels of blood sugar and insulin in the body have been linked to many of the health problems that are so common today.

The glycemic index has been the subject of scientific research for over twenty years. It was originally developed as a dietary strategy to help people with diabetes gain better control over their blood sugar levels. Today the GI is widely accepted in Canada, Australia, and much of Europe, and its use has expanded to include roles in treating obesity, cardiovascular disease, and various other health problems. Health professionals in the United States have been slow to adopt this revolutionary way of classifying carbohydrates. However, this is rapidly changing as mounting evidence on the benefits of the GI make this a topic that can no longer be ignored. The health effects of high- versus low-GI foods are summarized below:

High-GI Foods

Are quickly digested, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin levels.

Provide short bursts of energy that may be quickly followed by hunger and a roller-coaster pattern of overeating.

Promote excess insulin secretion, which may increase the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer and may contribute to a variety of other health problems.

Low-GI Foods

Are slowly digested, allowing for a gradual rise in blood sugar and insulin.

Provide a slow-release form of energy that sustains you between meals and promotes a healthy body weight.

Protect the body from the harmful effects of too much insulin.

You might look at this comparison and deduce that you should eliminate entirely foods that have a high glycemic index and eat only low-GI foods. Fortunately, going to extremes is not necessary. And as you will discover, just because a food has a low GI does not necessarily mean it is a healthful choice. However, replacing some of the high-GI carbohydrates in your diet with healthful lower-GI carbohydrates should be a primary strategy for anyone who wants to achieve a healthy body weight and maximize his or her health.

Ranking Foods on the Glycemic Index

Determining the GI of a food is a fairly complicated process (see the inset "How Do Researchers Determine the GI of a Food?" on page 11 for details), so the GI of every food is not known. However, researchers have tested a variety of common foods, some of which are shown on page 9. A more extensive listing of the GI values of foods can be found in the appendix. These tables list the glycemic indexes of foods when compared to pure glucose, which has a GI of 100. When comparing foods, the following scale will help you put the GI in perspective:

Very low G1 = 39 or lower
Low GI = 40 to 54
Moderate GI = 55 to 69
High GI = 70 or higher

A look at Table 1.1 may surprise you. Many foods that are often thought of as "health foods"-rice cakes and baked potatoes, for instance-have very high indexes, while "junk foods" like potato chips and chocolate have relatively low indexes. Is there any rhyme or reason to the glycemic index? Yes. The GI of a food is influenced by a variety of factors, including the degree to which the food is processed; how long the food is cooked; the kind of starch, sugar, or fiber the food contains; and the food's acidity. In general, anything that speeds the rate at which a food is digested and absorbed will increase the GI of a food. The section "Factors That Affect the Glycemic Index of a Food" on page 13 provides more details about what factors can raise or lower the GI of a food.

Of course, the glycemic index cannot be the only factor that determines which foods you should eat. As you can see from looking at Table 1.1, just because a food has a low GI does not necessarily mean it is good for you. It's important to consider all the nutritional qualities of a food when planning your diet. This book will help you make the best choices based on this philosophy.

While the GI should not be the only criterion used for choosing foods, some generalities can be drawn from Table 1.1 that can help guide you in choosing foods:

Foods That Raise The Glycemic Index Of Your Diet

Breakfast cereals
Processed snack foods like chips, crackers, and pretzels

Foods That Lower The Glycemic Index Of Your Diet

Minimally processed whole grains
Dairy products

Realize that some variation exists within these lists. For instance, not all kinds of bread and potatoes have a high GI. The remaining chapters of this book will help you make these distinctions and help you to plan varied and satisfying meals and snacks.

What effect do sweets have on the glycemic index of your diet? Many candies, cakes, cookies, and sodas have a moderate GI. However, these foods are very concentrated sources of carbohydrate, and the workload they place on the pancreas is considerable. Since sweets are often high in calories and low in nutritive value, they should be eaten with your total carbohydrate and nutrition goals in mind.

Perspective on Portions

How do portion sizes affect the glycemic index? The more carbohydrate you eat in a meal, the more insulin your pancreas must secrete to process the carbohydrate. For instance, eating a 4-ounce bagel will cause twice the insulin response as eating a 2-ounce bagel. Choosing low-GI foods will minimize the amount of insulin that you secrete when you eat carbohydrates, but portions are still important. Chapter 2 will give you an idea of how much carbohydrate is right for you.

Glycemic Index Versus Glycemic Load

Recognizing that both the GI of the carbohydrate-containing food and the amount of carbohydrate eaten affect blood insulin levels, researchers have coined the term glycemic load to describe these two factors considered together. Glycemic load is a better indicator of total insulin demand and the workload of the pancreas than just glycemic index by itself. This term is becoming more popular in the scientific literature, so when you see it, just realize that it reflects both the type and the amount of dietary carbohydrate.

Factors That Affect the Glycemic Index of a Food

Table 1.1, which lists the glycemic index of a variety of common foods, reinforces the statement that all carbohydrates are not created equal. However, at first glance, the glycemic index may not seem to make much sense. Why do two starchy foods like pasta and potatoes have such different indexes? And why does fruit have a lower GI than bread? Differences in cooking and processing methods; the chemical structure of the starches, sugars, and fibers in foods; and the presence of fat, protein, or acid can all markedly affect the GI of a food. Knowing more about how these factors affect the digestibility of foods will help you make sense of the GI.

Milling, Grinding, And Processing Of Grains

Modern food-processing techniques, such as grinding, pulverizing, puffing, extruding, and otherwise destroying the natural intact form of whole grains, make whole grains easier to digest and absorb. This is why most breads, breakfast cereals, snack chips, and crackers have such a high glycemic index. This is also why thinly cut instant oats have a higher GI than thicker cut old-fashioned oats.


During cooking and baking, the starches in foods like grains, pasta, breads, and muffins absorb water. This causes the starch granules to swell and rupture, a process known as gelatinization. Gelatinized starch is readily attacked by digestive enzymes and very quickly digested and absorbed. Bread has a high GI partly because the starch in the finely ground flour used to make bread is easily gelatinized. And soft, overcooked pasta has a higher GI than firm, al dente pasta because the overcooked pasta absorbed more water during cooking.

Many of the processing methods used to make extruded, flaked, or puffed cereals and snack foods involve steam-cooking at very high temperatures and pressures. This fully gelatinizes the starch in these foods and contributes to their high glycemic indexes.

The Type Of Starch Present

Starch is a storage form of glucose found in plant foods. Because starch is composed of hundreds or thousands of glucose molecules that are strung together in chains, it is often referred to as complex carbohydrate. Scientists have long believed that because starch has a complex structure, it is more slowly digested than simple sugars. However, the glycemic index has proven this notion to be false.

There are two main kinds of starch present in plant foods-amylose and amylopectin. When these starches are digested, their glucose molecules are liberated and absorbed, causing a rise in blood sugar. However, because of the differences in their chemical structures, these two starches have very different effects on blood sugar.

Amylopectin's structure resembles the branches of a tree and so it is easily attacked by digestive enzymes. Starchy foods that contain a high proportion of amylopectin-like baking potatoes and sticky short-grain rice-are quickly digested and produce rapid rises in blood sugar levels. Amylose, on the other hand, consists of a long, straight chain of tightly packed glucose molecules that resists digestion. Foods high in amylose-such as new potatoes and basmati rice-are absorbed more slowly and have lower glycemic indexes.

The Type Of Sugar Present

Many people are surprised to learn that with the exception of glucose (GI = 100), most sugars have low to moderate glycemic indexes. Fructose, the sugar that occurs naturally in fruits, is very slowly absorbed, giving it a GI of only 23. Lactose, the sugar naturally present in milk and dairy products, has a GI of 46. This is one reason why most fruits and dairy products have such low glycemic indexes. Sucrose (white table sugar), a combination of equal parts fructose and glucose, has a GI of 65. The fact that sucrose is part fructose is one reason why many sweets have a moderate GI.


The naturally occurring acids in fruits, as well as the acids in fermented foods like yogurt, buttermilk, and sourdough bread, slow the rate of digestion and contribute to the low GI of these foods. Likewise, adding just 4 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice to a meal can lower the GI of the meal by about 30 percent. For this reason, using vinegar and lemon juice to flavor foods can be a powerful way to lower the GI of your diet.

Excerpted from

Good Carb Cookbook: Secrets of Eating Low on the Glycemic Index
by Sandra Woodruff
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble

Introducing The Glycemic Impact Diet. Lose 10 Pounds in 5 weeks

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ayurveda’s most important purifying herb: Guggulu


Guggulu is one of Ayurveda’s most important purifying herbs. It cleanses unhealthy tissues, increases the white blood cell count and rejuvenates the skin. It has traditionally been considered the consummate blood detoxifier useful in any condition characterized by congestion or stagnation. In the original texts from over two thousand years ago, Guggulu was recommended to clear the sinuses of congestion, relieve chronic skin disorders, treat obesity, shrink swollen glands and cool inflamed joints. It is fascinating how medical science is now validating many of the traditional uses for this ancient herbal medicine. Latin name: Commiphora mukul 60 Capsules per Bottle.
Available online at Chopra Center

Thursday, May 22, 2008

$600 off NordicTrack Apex 4600 Treadmill at Sears

NordicTrack Apex 4600 Treadmill on sale for $999.88. Save $600 until 5/31!

The NordicTrack Apex 4600 treadmill features a powerful 2.75 horse power commercial-grade DurX motor that provides smooth operation for longer periods of time and is quieter than standard motors. The 20" x 60" 2-ply commercial treadbelt is our largest and most durable treadbelt and can handle heavy use. To make your workout even more comfortable, you get DuraSoft Adjustable Cushioning that allows you to select the perfect level of cushioning that's just right for you. The 2.5" commercial steel rollers make for an incredibly smooth drive system and they extend the life of the treadmill. With a 325 lb. weight capacity deck, this treadmill is ready to handle long workouts. To keep your workout interesting, the NordicTrack Apex 4600 features 12 built-in workout programs including 2 heart rate programs and 2 learn programs. The new ClearView Backlit Display is perfectly clear and easy to read. The console includes a 7x10 workout matrix that displays your workout graphically.

The Apex 4600 gives you peace of mind with a 15-year motor warranty, 2 years on parts and 1 year of labor.

* 0-12 MPH 1-Touch™ Speed Control allows you to instantly adjust your speed up or down with the single touch of a button instead of having to tediously scroll through options
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* 8 Personal Trainer workouts automatically adjust the speed and incline of the treadmill during your workout
* 2 Heart Rate workouts help you stay in your target workout zone by automatically increasing the speed based on your heart rate
* 2 Learn™ programs that you can customize yourself
* Adjustable DuraSoft™ Cushioning system provides a more comfortable exercise surface while also reducing impact on your joints
* Patented, revolutionary SpaceSaver® Design with AirLight™ Lift Assist Shock allows your treadmill to fold vertically for storage
* PowerPulse™ Heart Rate Monitor accurately monitors your heart rate to ensure you are in the proper training zone with the pulse sensitive sensors that are built right into the handlebars
* Commercial-Grade Drive System features a 2.75 HP commercial motor, precision 2.5" rollers, large 2-ply treadmill belt and a failsafe controller
* Goal Setting Programmability - In addition to the pre-programmed workouts, this treadmill helps you set your own goals. You can choose from goals like steps, pace, calories, time and more

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Do This. Cut Your Risk of Death In Half


Numerous studies have shown that people who exercise lower their risk of heart disease, diabetes, physical disability, and some forms of cancer. Now researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta say that older women who exercise may live longer.

The 12-1/2 year study of more than 7,500 women, all of whom were 65 and older, showed that exercise is good for us no matter what our age. The CDC researchers learned that when women who had been sedentary became more active, they had a 48 percent lower risk of death from any cause than those who remained inactive. The researchers, led by Dr. Edward W. Gregg, also found that those who exercised regularly had a 36 percent lower heart disease risk and a 51 percent lower risk of cancer than those who were sedentary.

"Modest increases in physical activity could have wide-ranging benefits ranging from improved risk factors to reduced disability," the authors wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "Our findings suggest these benefits may translate into substantial reductions [in] mortality."

The takeaway: Exercise can help you to live longer. The best exercises for older women are walking and other low-intensity activities.

Exercise can do more than just keep your body fit. It can also keep your mind sharp well into old age. Researchers from the V.A. Medical Center in San Francisco found that adults who were the most fit at the start of a six-year study maintained their mental sharpness over time and did better in tests of their mental function conducted years later than did their less physically fit peers, reports Reuters. "Physical activity appears to be good for the brain as well as the body," study author Dr. Deborah E. Barnes, told Reuters. "Older adults with higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness experience a slower rate of cognitive decline over time."

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Drink This. It May Prevent Alzheimer's

A glass of apple juice a day may keep Alzheimer's away and help fight the devastating effects that aging has on the brain.

According to a study from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, apple juice may boost production of an essential neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that helps nerve cells communicate and are important to brain health and a good memory. This in turn could ward off mind-robbing conditions like Alzheimer's disease, reports Ivanhoe Newswire.

The study: The researchers tested the ability of apple juice to improve brain functioning in both younger and older mice, including special mice that were bred as a genetic model for human Alzheimer's. The animals were divided into three groups. The first ate a standard diet, another ate a nutrient deficient diet, and the third also ate a nutrient deficient diet, but drank water laced with apple juice.

The results: When the investigators ran the mice through a standard maze, those on the apple juice diet outperformed the other two groups. These mice also showed an increase in production of acetylcholine in their brains. Even the genetically engineered mice who were given apple juice had improved acetylcholine levels. Previous research has shown that mental decline associated with Alzheimer's disease can be slowed when the amount of acetylcholine is increased.

"We anticipate that the day may come when foods like apples, apple juice and other apple products are recommended along with the most popular Alzheimer's medications," says Thomas Shea, Ph.D., director of the UML Center for Cellular Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration Research, said in a news release announcing the study findings. Many Alzheimer's drugs on the market today were developed with an eye toward increasing acetylcholine production in the brain.

Why does apple juice appear to have the same effect as Alzheimer's drugs? The investigators believe apples must have the right combination of antioxidants and other nutrients to get the job done.

How much apple juice do you need to drink to reap the benefits? The researchers gave the mice the human equivalent of two 8-ounce glasses of juice or two to three apples a day.

The study findings were reported in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, August 2006.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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Benefiber Juice Drink is a totally unique fiber supplement. Although it contains fiber, it is a light, refreshing, delicious drink. It enhances hydration, never thickens or gels, and is available in apple flavor.

Monday, May 19, 2008

No. 1 Way to Predict a Heart Attack

Your blood pressure and body mass index in middle age are powerful predictors of your level of risk for heart failure later in life.

The higher the numbers above normal ranges, the greater the risk, according to a study from the Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts.

Led by Ramachandran S. Vasan, the team evaluated the medical records of 3,362 men and women who had routine check-ups between 1969 and 1994, looking specifically at their blood pressure, pulse and BMI measurements. (Body mass index, or BMI, is a measure of weight in relation to height.) Of all the participants, 518 developed heart failure.

Vasan concluded that those who had a higher systolic blood pressure reading (that's the top number), higher pulse and higher BMI in mid-life were all at risk for heart failure in later life.

"The prevention of heart failure should begin early in life and should include screening for elevated blood pressure and BMI," Vasan told Reuters Health. "Failure to identify or treat such modifiable risk factors in early and mid-adulthood may result in the loss of opportunities to reduce the incidence of heart failure in later life."

The findings were published in the medical journal Hypertension.

--From the Editors at Netscape

If you want to furher investigate, here's a small list of books that can help you achieve a better knowledge about hypertension and how to prevent it:

by Matthew R. Weir
How low should we go? What drugs should we use? How do we achieve lower blood pressure goals? This "how-to" manual in hypertension presents concise, practical, up-to-date information on the diagnosis and management of hypertension, with emphasis on current drug therapies. Generous use of tables, charts, bulleted information, and figures make this a timely and easily accessible volume.

Included in the text:
•The latest information on the management and drug therapy of hypertension.
•Pharmacology of the latest drugs and antihypertensive therapies.
•Hot topics such as detection, prevention, and reduction are discussed, in addition to specific patients such as pregnant women and the elderly.

Reversing Hypertension: A Vital New Program to Prevent, Treat, and Reduce High Blood Pressure
by Julian M. Whitaker

It Strikes One in four Americans Without Warning... it triples your risk of dying from a heart increases your risk of stroke can lead to kidney disease, diabetes, and blindness...and to fight it, you may be taking expensive -- and dangerous -- drugs. Now Dr. Julian Whitaker, a leading champion of nutritional medicine unleashes a new weapon in the war against hypertension. His simple yet dramatically effective plan offers: a comprehensive program of diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and stress management -- to replace or cut down your dependence on medication. Dr. Whitaker's Quick Start Diet -- to decrease dangerously high blood pressure fast. over 30 easy recipes for delicious, low-fat, healthy eating. custom-tailored exercises, from simple stretching to extensive walking regimens. tips on how to properly balance your salt intake and drink more water -- hypertension's most overlooked remedy. important information on inexpensive mineral supplements, EDTA chelation and EECP therapies, and much more.

The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Cookbook: Hundreds of Favorite Recipes Created to Combat Congestive Heart Failure and Dangerous Hypertension
by Donald A. Gazzaniga

Donald Gazzaniga, diagnosed with congestive heart failure, was headed for a heart transplant - the only effective medical treatment.

Urged by his doctor to keep his sodium intake "under 1,500-2000 mg. a day," Don headed for the kitchen and went to work. Aware that cutting out table salt is the barest beginning of a true low-sodium diet, Don devised recipes for delicious low-sodium dishes that added up to less than 500 mg. daily, 70% lower than those in other low-sodium cookbooks. The result? Don's name has been removed from the transplant list and his doctors believe that his diet played a significant role.

The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Cookbook contains:

* Hundreds of good tasting, easy-to-make recipes
* An introduction by Dr. Sandra Barbour of the Kaiser Permanente Foundation
* Advice on finding low-sodium prepared foods, eating in restaurants, etc.
* Accurate sodium content of every ingredient and of the total servings
* A twenty-eight-day low-sodium menu planner by Dr. Jeannie Gazzaniga, Ph.D., R.D.

This book is for informational purposes only. Readers are advised to consult a physician before making any major change in diet.

Magnesium Solution for High Blood Pressure: How to Use Magnesium to Help Prevent and Relieve Hypertension Naturally
by Jay S. Cohen
More than 50 million Americans have high blood pressure -- a devastating disease that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Doctors routinely prescribe drugs for this condition, but these medications often cause side effects. As a nationally recognized expert on medications and side effects, Dr. Jay S. Cohen wants to make you aware of a safe, natural solution to high blood pressure -- the mineral magnesium.

Magnesium is essential for the normal functioning of nerves, muscles, blood vessels, bones, and the heart, yet more than 75% of the population is deficient in it. Dr. Cohen has written The Magnesium Solution for High Blood Pressure to provide you and your doctor with all of the information needed to understand why magnesium is essential for helping to prevent and treat high blood pressure. Dr. Cohen explains why magnesium is necessary for normal vascular functioning, how to use magnesium along with hypertension drugs, and the best types of magnesium to use. Most importantly, Dr. Cohen has made the evidence-based research on magnesium's safety and effectiveness highly readable and usable by anyone.

This book offers the facts on this natural alternative for the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Here is valuable information for anyone seeking a natural, safe, non-drug option for high blood pressure.

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Hypertension: The Revolutionary Nutrition and Lifestyle Program to Help Fight High Blood Pressure
by Mark Houston

A revolutionary, all- natural treatment program for reversing the "silent killer" affecting more than 50 million Americans. Hypertension is a dangerous and deadly disease. There are no symptoms, so most sufferers have no idea anything is wrong—making more than 45 million Americans ticking time bombs. And while there are many drugs on the market that combat this condition, the costs and side effects are often prohibitive. Now, a leading expert and researcher introduces an all-natural solution. His comprehensive treatment regimen controls high blood pressure using the best of traditional and alternative medicine. Readers will learn about Dr. Houston's own successful all-natural formula, which attacks hypertension from many angles. When used in conjunction with dietary approaches—also outlined in the book—and combined with exercise, stress reduction, and medication, this program has resulted in success for 90% of Dr. Houston's patients!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Eat This and You May Ward Off Cancer

Eat broccoli. And tomatoes. The trick is to eat them together.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana have determined that eating broccoli and tomatoes together may offer better protection against prostate cancer than eating either vegetable alone, reports Reuters. Why? Mixing the compounds from the two foods could have a synergistic effect.

The study, which was done in rats, looked at the effect of these two foods as a unit. Previous research has found that each of them separately offer protection against cancer. For tomatoes, the lycopene--that's what makes them red--is likely the magic ingredient. For broccoli, it's a compound called glucosinolates.

The Illinois study supports the idea that the mixtures of compounds in foods work together to preserve health, notes Reuters. "We decided to look at these foods in combination because we believed it was a way to learn more about real diets eaten by real people," lead study author John Erdman, a professor of food science and nutrition, said at a news conference announcing the findings.

The study: Four groups of rats were injected with human prostate tumors that mimic human cancer to a certain degree (although not perfectly). Each of the rat groups were fed one of the following: dried, powdered tomato; dried broccoli; a combination of both; or a drug called finasteride that has been shown to reduce the benign growth of the prostate.

The results: All the rats developed prostate cancer tumors, but the tumors grew more slowly and stayed smaller in the three groups of rats that had been given the food supplements. The rats given both broccoli and tomato had the smallest tumors, notes Reuters. "Separately, these two foods appear to have enormous cancer-fighting potential. Together, they bring out the best in each other and maximize the cancer-fighting effect," Erdman said.

The study findings were published in the Journal of Nutrition.

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