Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fiber in Weight Loss

Everyone knows that when you're in need of helping your um, regularity come out all right, then you need to get more fiber into your diet. But did you know that fiber can actually help you to lose weight?

It's true! That yummy, filling food is actually good for you and promotes weight-loss! How, you ask? Simple. Fiber is, ultimately, a bulking agent. Fiber is one of the only plant-based foods that our bodies cannot digest. We cannot absorb its caloric value, and fiber does not provide us with nutrients. Nada, zilch, zip! We, as human beings, lack the enzyme necessary to break down fiber. But rather than detrimenting our bodies as a result of being inabsorable, fiber actually helps to filter the toxins from our bodies. Therefore, fiber is not only a natural laxative, but also a way to detox your body.

There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber dissolves and breaks down in water. It is like a sponge; it is absorbent. It absorbs bile in the intestinal tract. The body uses bile as its fast-moving way of ridding the body of excess cholesterol, estrogen, used red blood cells and toxins. By absorbing the bile, soluble fiber helps with the movement of these wastes from the body. Thus, soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol, as well as regulate blood sugar. Soluble fiber adsorbs excess calories and has a flushing effect on your system.

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not break down in water. This fiber type helps promote bowel movement regularity, by adding bulk and resistance for the colon. It acts as a swab that helps to clean the colon of matter and impurities. Additional bulk of the insoluble fiber actually stimulates the contractions of the colon, moving waste toward bowel elimination more readily and successfully. It also helps to control the bacterial balance of the colon. There are certain types of bacterium that are directly linked to obesity. So, regularly emptying of your colon may help weight loss for many reasons.

The benefits of fiber are shown by examining different cultures. Many high-fiber consuming populations tend to have better overall health than populations which consume less fiber. in populations of high fiber consumerism, the people tend to be slimmer and less prone to certain types of diseases. It is theorized this is because fiber-rich foods tend to be better for you, as well as fiber aiding in less calories consumed in a given day and daily flushing of toxins from the system via emptying of accumulated matter.

Increasing your daily intake of fiber also helps to promote weight-loss, because fiber makes you feel full sooner and keeps you feeling full longer than the foods with a lower content of fiber that you may eat. However, fiber does not alter the digestion rate or slow the emptying of the stomach contents. Diets rich with fiber tend to be low in calories, as a result. The feeling of full sooner and longer negates unwanted snacking or binge-eating, and subsequently reduces daily caloric intake - which is essential for shedding pounds. You're eating less and feeling less hungry. Fiber also helps to move fat through your digestive tract faster, and thusly, less fat is absorbed by your body.

It is recommended that we have 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day, at minimum level. If you currently are of a low fiber consumption level, then you must increase your intake slowly and gradually. Overloading your body with fiber, before your body becomes used to it, will result in abdominal discomfort associated with excess gas production. Be sure to increase your water consumption, as the risk of constipation may be prevalent due to additional bulk. If after introducing more fiber into your diet, you're noticing loose stools or diarrhea, reduce your fiber intake immediately.

Poor eating habits are the leading cause of disease, disabilities and death in the U.S., as of today. A healthy diet has been observed to effectively and even completely reverse certain diseases or illnesses. Fiber promotes regular bowel movements and the warding of certain diseases and illnesses. 35 grams of fiber or more a day can help to reduce your chances of these illnesses. Each 10 grams of fiber that you increase in your diet, will decrease your risk of heart attack by 14%! The health benefits don't end here. An increase of 10 grams of fiber will also reduce your chances of developing diabetes by 26%! People who have a high-fiber diet are less likely to suffer a stroke than those of a low-fiber consumption demographic. The consumption of high levels of fiber is directly related to prevention and/or reducing the risks many types of cancer, including: colon, stomach, pancreatic and even breast cancer. Fiber also improves your immunity system which is in direct correlation with a heightened metabolism, so again, fiber is a fat-fighting food. Fiber also helps you to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and promotes bowel regularity which aids in purifying the body on a daily basis.

How can one increase one's daily fiber intake? No, you don't have to munch on bran muffins all day long - although, those are a great source of fiber. The best way to ensure you are consuming enough fiber, is simply by increasing your raw food consumption. And that doesn't mean eating raw meat or dairy! In fact, meat and dairy have absolutely no fiber value, whatsoever. Raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole bran and grains are fiber-rich foods, having both soluble and insoluble fiber, and are loaded in nutrients.

Start your day off with whole grain cereal or a bran muffin to help keep you full until snack time or lunch, and to help keep your body ready to dispense of toxins and excess calories. Eating a diet rich in fiber helps keep blood sugar levels consistent, and makes you less likely to overeat.

Remember to eat more natural foods. When choosing foods containing fiber, opt for the ones using words like "whole grain" or "cracked wheat". These are keyword that indicate the foods retain the complete kernel, which is the source of fiber. One serving of a whole grain bread slice is more filling that two servings of white. This is because white bread or bleached grains are depleted of their fiber content. Stay away from foods that tout the phrase "enriched". These are foods that are heavily processed and refined, and are stripped of fiber. These foods serve your body absolutely no purpose and actually promote weight-gain. Refined, processed foods quickly turn into glucose (blood sugar) and incorrectly alert your body to start storing fat rather than burning fat. This is what is known as a spike in insulin. This is very dangerous, because after the insulin spikes, the insulin then drops, leaving you fatigued and ever the more hungry. This promotes weight gain and a continual cycle of binge-eating and other types of disturbed eating patterns. Because of the ill-effects of these foods, your body is also devastated by a lowered metabolism which will make you retain all calories consumed.

Simple steps to increase your daily intake of fiber, and to avoid fiber-depleted foods, are by choosing whole grains over processed. Choose brown rice over white, as brown rice contains fiber and white rice does not. Other foods, such as barley and flaxseed, are loaded in fiber, as well. Red beans are a key source of fiber. There are even supplements, wafers and powders which are said to be packed with fibers. However, these supplements are not always good, as these supplements are often enriched and can be stripped first of fiber and then over-processed. Your body cannot recognize the supplement as fiber, as it would a piece of fruit. Natural sources of fiber are better.

Adding fiber to your diet, however, is not the sole way that fiber fights fat. You must be sure that when increasing your fiber intake, you are still on a low-calorie nutrient-rich diet, properly hydrated, and exercising regularly.

The Benefits of Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes aid in the digestion of the foods we eat. They are found throughout our digestive system-in the mouth, in the stomach and in other places along our digestive track. What these enzymes do is breakdown food into fuel that our bodies can use. There are seven basic types of enzymes-with each having various sub-classifications and serving different functions. The primary types of enzymes involved in the digestive process include protease (for digesting proteins), amylase (for digesting carbohydrates) and lipase (for digesting fats).

Digestive enzyme supplementation has been getting a lot of buzz lately. The rationale for its evolution is threefold: First, though our bodies produce digestive enzymes naturally (we get them from foods too), it is thought that our modern diets-which are often full of refined sugars, saturated fats and empty calories-stress our systems to the point that they don't function properly. Second, most of the foods we eat are processed to the point that the naturally-occurring digestive enzymes that would normally be present are diminished or eradicated entirely. And finally, it is thought that as we age, our bodies produce fewer natural digestive enzymes.

Proponents of digestive enzyme therapy say that because of these three conditions, enzyme deficiencies result in not only our inability to eat certain foods (like spicy foods) but also in build-ups of toxins and undigested foods in our digestive track.

They say that this leads to the development of various health problems and illnesses including bloating, gas, heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, bowel problems, food allergies or intolerances, cramping, weight gain and more.

The theory is that we need to restore our bodies' digestive enzyme natural balance in order to alleviate the problems associated with the deficiencies.

Some nutritionists say that eating more raw foods is one effective way to eliminate these deficiencies. All raw foods contain enzymes, many of which-provided the food is not cooked, heated, processed or irradiated above 118 degrees-will convert to digestive enzymes in our bodies. For the average person though, this is easier said than done-it's just not always practical or realistic to eat raw foods all the time.

Otherwise, taking digestive enzyme supplements is seen as a means to treat these conditions and restore the natural balance in the body. Digestive enzyme supplements can come from both natural and pharmaceutical sources.

Natural sources of digestive enzymes include animals (like from the pancreas of a pig) and plants (papayas, pineapples, figs and others). Unless a person is being treated for a specific, identified enzyme deficiency, most supplements contain a blend of different enzymes along with herbs, vitamins and/or minerals. They are usually taken in tablet form.

Now on to the big question: Does digestive enzyme supplementation really help? Well, the answer to that question is maybe-it all depends. Crappy answer, right? Not really because some studies have shown that digestive enzyme supplementation can be effective for persons who are suffering from certain conditions related to particular enzyme deficiencies. And there are plenty of people who swear by them. They take them faithfully and say that they definitely have noticed improvements in not just the related conditions, but in their overall health as well.

On the other hand though, if your digestive system functions well-that is to say, you don't have any identified problems or conditions, then your results may not be so obvious. Because your system is functioning as it should be, any benefits that you obtain from digestive enzyme supplementation might be more difficult for you to notice more so than in the case of a person who is suffering from a particular condition.

The fact is that the whole idea of taking digestive enzyme supplements is still relatively uncharted territory, so the answers are always so clear. If you notice that you are afflicted with any of the conditions mentioned above, then a regimen of digestive enzyme supplements might be just what you need to alleviate the problem. And if you don't have any of those symptoms or just aren't sure, you might want to go ahead and give it a try as well-maybe for a month or two to see if you notice any difference.

Unless you are taking diabetes medications or certain blood thinners, there have not been any reported problems from taking digestive enzyme supplements, so there shouldn't be any harm in taking them. However, you should always err on the side of caution and consult your doctor before starting any supplementation regimen just to be sure that you don't have any conditions that could potentially put you at risk.

Trying to Understand Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (also referred to as Autism Spectrum Conditions, Autism Spectrum, and Autism) is something that six out of every thousand children in the United States have been diagnosed with. Many times this condition is very misunderstood and some parents don't even truly understand what the signs of it are.

During this article, you'll learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder, its symptoms, and how it's managed. At the time that this article was written, all of the information provided below was scattered around the internet which urged us to bring it into one easy-to-understand article.

What are the different types of Autism Spectrum Disorder?

There are three different primary forms of Autism as well as two uncommon conditions. Over the years it became know that the symptoms aren't always the same and branching it off would help treat Autism Spectrum a lot more efficiently than having one broad diagnosis.

The three main types of Autism are:

Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified

Otherwise referred to as PDD-NOS, this is the moderate form of Autism. It's diagnosed when a patient doesn't have as severe of a case as Autistic Disorder and it's not as severe as Asperger's Syndrome.

Asperger Syndrome

Asperger's Syndrome is the least severe form of Autism. It's also commonly referred to as high functioning Autism since it causes one to talk about their favorite things non-stop. Also, Asperger Syndrome is found three times more often in boys than it's found in girls.

Autistic Disorder

This is the most severe case of Autism which does affect the child with more impairment than the other two forms of Autism that were discussed above.

The two uncommon types of Autism are:

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

This is the most severe form of Autism around. More commonly referred to as CDD by medical professionals, the impairments are extremely severe and could cause seizures. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is more commonly found in boys than it is girls.

Rett's Syndrome

This type of Autism happens to be one of the rarest forms and is usually caused by genetic mutations. Rett's Syndrome is just about exclusive to girls, meaning that it's very, very rare to find it in boys.The impairments caused by Rett's Syndrome are very severe when compared to the other forms of Autism featured on this page.

What are the signs and symptoms associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism is a disorder which is extremely difficult to diagnose. The reason for this is that the symptoms vary from person-to-person and sometimes the symptoms aren't common ones found in most that are diagnosed with Autism.

Some indicators of Autism include:

No attempts to talk or point before a child turns one year old

Constantly lining up toys and/or other items

No single words spoken by 16 months

No two word phrases by two years old

Lack of response when called by their name

Lack of eye contact or poor eye contact

Not being socially responsive

Lack of a smile

Obsessed with certain topics or things

Lack of social relationships with others

Specific routines that aren't broken

Odd use of language

How is Autism Spectrum Disorder managed?

While there is no real cure for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder there are routes that you can take to help a child deal with Autism. Children with Autism should get treatment at as early of an age as possible.

One of the most common problems among Autistic children is that it can be extremely difficult for them to learn how to talk. To help a child with Autism overcome this, therapists will use sign language and pictures to help the child understand the concept of spoken language.

Therapy can also help children learn things like living skills and interacting with others. These are two more common issues that children with Autism are forced to face and over the years people have been trained to enhance the learning experience when it comes to these things.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Summary

Autism Spectrum isn't the easiest thing for a child or parent to live with, but thankfully there are more options to help manage Autism than there used to be. With it being so common among children, it's critical to know that the treatments are changing to make life better for the child as well as their parents.

What to Remember When Teaching Autistic Children

Good teachers are those who help children with autism achieve success. They must be able to help their pupils overcome autism. Teaching autistic children isn't just limited on the patients; teachers must also interact with the parents and other family members.

Parents need to be aware of their children's case and they must have special participation in the planning of the instructions and curriculum and in monitoring the progress of their child. If teachers let the parents do their share in the learning process, the child will get not just good school experience but also better and more productive learning experiences at home.

Here are some things teachers have to bear in mind when teaching children with autism:

1. Long strings or series of verbal instructions must be avoided.
As a teacher, you must always bear in mind that autistic individuals find it hard to instill the sequence in their memory. So if he or she can read, just write down the instructions on a sheet of paper. If you are giving directions involving more than three steps, write them down.

2. Most autistic people are visual thinkers.
Many people with autism think in pictures, not in language. So if you want to make them familiar with some words, use pictures to demonstrate such words to the child.

3. Autistic children usually get stuck on a certain subject such as maps or cars.
Since fixations on some things just can't be avoided, better utilize them to encourage school work.

4. Utilize concrete visual techniques to teach children with number concepts.
In teaching autistic children with numbers, it would be better to use visual methods such as math toys.

5. Protect children with autism from sounds that usually hurt their ears.
Loud sounds irritate autistic children, so protect them by avoiding things that produce such sounds. Don't let the child have fear on the sounds he or she doesn't like because it can make him or her behave badly.

6. If the autistic child is hyperactive, let him wear a padded weighted vest.
Such apparel help calm autistic children that's hyperactive. The garment gives pressure that calms the person's nervous system. It would be better to allow the child to wear the vest for twenty minutes and take it off for a few minutes. This way, the nervous system is prevented from getting used to the said outfit.

7. Most children with autism have troubles controlling the motor in their hands.
It is for this reason that most autistic children have messy handwriting. Oftentimes, they find it hard to achieve good handwriting and this can totally upset them. So to avoid or at least lessen such frustration, better help the child find pleasure in learning by letting him or her type on the computer.

8. Make sure the child's desk is near the window.
Fluorescent lights and some visual distractions bother autistic individuals. So when teaching autistic children, avoid illuminating the room by means of fluorescent lights and let them sit near the window.

9. Children with autism are oftentimes good at art, drawing, and computer.
If you notice that the child is good in a certain field, encourage them to use and improve their talents.

10. There are autistic children who easily learn how to read using phonics while some learn by memorizing the words.
This is also an important consideration in teaching autistic children. Since they learn reading the easy way through the help of phonics, then teach them phonics rule.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Choosing the Best Probiotics For Your Health

I bet you never thought you'd actually WANT bacteria in your gut, now did you? Yet now that probiotics and probiotic supplementation have taken center stage in the fight to maintain vibrant health, more and more people who may have never even heard the word probiotic before are starting to pay attention - close attention.

But how can you know which are the best probiotics to take? And what's more, where can you find them?

Just in case you don't happen to know what probiotics are, or what the benefits of taking a probiotic supplement can be, let's cover a little of the background first. (If you're already familiar with the benefits of probiotics, you can scroll on down to the bottom of this article where I've provided a couple great links that will help you choose the best probiotics for you.)

What Do Probiotics Do?

I like short answers and short explanations, so let's address the basic question of what probiotics do this way... Probiotics keep you healthy. Period.

According to many studies as well as a recent story on CNN, scientists have been aware of the connection between probiotics and vibrant health for decades.

If you're old enough, you may remember those old Dannon yogurt commercials featuring a town in the former Soviet Union where many of the inhabitants were over 100 years old -- and attributed their longevity to the fact that they ate lots and lots of yogurt, thus getting millions of beneficial probiotics into their bodies every day.

Today, we're a bit more sophisticated about it. Yes, yogurt -- at least the ones that contain those "live and active cultures" you see on the label -- do contain probiotics. But many times there aren't enough, or the right kind, for us to truly get all the benefits.

In fact, many people take probiotic supplements that contain many different "strains" of probiotics to get the full effect. For example, some probiotics will help restore your body's balance after a course of antibiotics (a well-known killer of the good bacteria that lives in your gut), but will do nothing for your overall immunity.

I could go on and on about which probiotic is best for every specific symptom or problem you may be experiencing -- as well as which ones are best to give your overall health a giant boost -- but there are better sources that I'd rather point you to that can offer a more complete breakdown.

(Plus, you're going to find out where to get some free samples of some of the best probiotics supplements today.) So let's cover that now. The best source I know of for finding quality probiotic supplements is this best probiotics review page. Not only will you find video reviews of top products, but you'll also get full step-by-step instructions for claiming your free trial samples as I mentioned above. This alone could save you $100 or more, so it's worth a few minutes of your time. Trust me on this one. If you're looking for more background, there's also this best probiotics video on YouTube that's worth a look. Hope that helps. And here's to your health!