Friday, July 31, 2009

Improving Protein Requirements the Meatless Way

The Better Life Experts | July 6, 2009

Some people either for cultural, religious or ethical reasons do not include meat in their diet. It is a personal choice that involves some degree of dietary risk because our bodies require amino acids to build and repair cells. Amino acids are often referred to as “the building blocks of protein”. Animal proteins contain all the essential amino acids in the right ratios and are known as suppliers of complete proteins. Most plant based foods lack one or more of the amino acids necessary to classify them as sources of complete proteins. Limiting amino acids in the diet can inhibit protein synthesis and consequently hamper the repair and production of cells and muscle tissue.

But, nature has provided a way out for people who do not consume meat products in their diet. By combining certain carbohydrates, you can create a complete amino acid profile without eating meat. Known as protein complementation, mixing food groups can ensure that you get enough dietary protein daily. As long as you eat a variety of complementary foods within a 24 hour period of time, you should be able to reach the required levels of amino acids necessary for the body to function properly. Complementary proteins have different amino acid profiles, but can function as complete protein sources when combined together.

Some examples of protein complementation include:

Combining beans with a tortilla; lentils with cornbread; rice with beans; corn with peas; peanut butter on whole grain bread; split pea soup with whole grain sesame crackers; and hummus with pita bread. These are just a few good protein complementation ideas you may want to try.

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) of protein is about 47 grams per day for the average sedentary (inactive) adult. This requirement increases with activity, so the average adult who exercises moderately to vigorously should be about 70 grams of protein per day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Crazy headache?

posted by Savitha Suri

Headaches are one of the most common health grievances of students, adults and even children, Headaches are very common and usually do not point to a serious illness. But even a mild headache can disrupt your daily activities

What actually happens in your body to cause headache?

The skull bones and brain tissues do not have pain sensitive nerve fibers. But muscles of face, mouth, throat, neck , scalp and blood vessels on the surface and base of brain are sensitive to pain as they contain pain sensitive nerve fibers.
The tip of these nerve fibers gets stimulated by various causes like stress, muscle tension, lack of sleep etc. The stimulated nerve tip sends message up the length of the nerve fiber to the related nerve cells of Brain. Brain locates the region of stimulated nerve tip based on these signals and we feel the pain or ache.

The headache may be mild, chronic or severe depending on the underlying cause and pain bearing capacity of the individual.
Our body produces natural pain killing proteins called endorphins. One of the theories suggests that people with low endorphin levels suffer from severe headache and other chronic pains in comparison with people having high endorphin levels.

What triggers headache?

• Anger

• Muscle tension

• Missed meals

• Vigorous exercise

• Sexual excitement

• Infections like Common cold , Flu , Fever , Ear infection ,Tooth infection Sinus infection , Pneumonia , etc

• Coughing - too much coughing can cause a form of traction headache.

• Lifestyle causes Hangover ,Excessive alcohol , Stress , Fatigue , Tension , Tiredness , Excessive smoking

• Dyspepsia

• Eye conditions

• Systemic or metabolic conditions, Hypertension , Thyroid disease ,Anemia , Kidney failure , Uremia

• Brain or head conditions Meningitis ,Encephalitis ,Head injury ,Heatstroke, Sunstroke

• Before, during, or after menstruation

• Hunger

• Medications (Many drugs designed to relieve pain can actually cause headache when the drug is stopped after a period of prolonged use.)

• Alcohol and caffeine withdrawal

• Not getting enough sleep

• Reading for long periods of time or eyestrain

• Doing repetitive work

• Staying in one position for a long time, such as working at a computer.

The same causes of head ache have been explained in Ayurveda also. These causes vitiate all the three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). The vitiated doshas cause tension, migraine, sinus and other head aches.

Few common types of headache are Tension headache, Migraine headache and sinus headache.

Tension headache:

Tightening of muscles of face and neck cause tension headache. It is characterized by a dull ache in forehead or back of head and pain in neck and shoulders which travels to head. Causes like less sleep, stress, reading for a long time, and working in front of a computer for long hours can precipitate tension headache.

Migraine Headache :

Migraine headache is caused when blood vessels of head get too much dilated or constricted . Females are more prone to this type of headache than males and migraine tends to run in families.

A person suffering from migraine headache feels like vomiting becomes too sensitive to light, sound and other activities. Few people experience spots or flashes before headache.

Few facts like menstruation in females, caffeine, alcohol, aged cheese, cured meat, stress, change in sleeping pattern, strenuous exercise trigger migraine headache.

Sinus Headaches

A sinus headache surfaces when fluids in the nose are not able to drain well and pressure builds up in sinuses. A cold, dust allergies, dirty or polluted water air travel may cause this type of headache.
Sinus headache causes pain in forehead, cheek bones, nose and stuffy nose. The headache increases when face is bent or touched. The symptoms are worse in the morning.

Although headaches are very common, It is recommended to consult a doctor about your headache.

Go to an emergency departmentif any of the following symptoms occur:

• Pain that develops very rapidly

• A change in concentration or ability to think

• A change in level of alertness

• Altered speech

• Weakness, numbness, or difficulty in walking

• Changes in vision

• Headache with a stiff neck or neck pain, or if light hurts your eyes

• If you feel that this the worst headache of your life

• Headache with dizziness, or a feeling that you are falling to one side

• Headache from an injury or blow to the head

• Headache with fever.

Home remedies for tension headache.

For tension headaches massage few drops of peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil on temples.

Massage the scalp with slightly warmed sesame oil. This relieves tension headache and induces sleep.

Regular exercise, yoga and meditation reduce the stress levels and keep the tension headache at bay.

Persons of vata type can use hot water bags on aching parts and a hot shower will be of good help.

Persons of pitta type can use cold or ice packs on aching parts and wrap a wet cold cloth around neck.

Home remedies for migraine headache.

Make a note of facts which trigger the headache and also the foods. Try to avoid these .

Avoid spicy foods, coffee, tea , alcohol, onion and garlic. Avoid citrus fruits except lemon.

Try muscle relaxation exercises. Progressive muscle relaxation, meditation and yoga are definitely going to help. Relax at least for half an hour everyday by doing your favourite activities like listening to music, gardening, taking hot water bath etc.

Stick to you a regular sleep pattern and get enough sleep but don't oversleep. Avoid sleeping during the afternoon.

Rest in a dark, quiet room when you feel a headache coming on. Place an ice pack wrapped in a cloth on the back of your neck and apply gentle pressure to painful areas on your scalp.

Home remedies for sinus headache.

• Breathe in warm, moist air.

• Moist the nasal passages with the help of saline nasal spray. A saline spray can be used up to six times per day.

• Do not smoke. If you smoke, quit.

• Avoid second-hand smoke and polluted air.

• Avoid exposure to anything that triggers allergy or sinus symptoms.

• Wash your hands frequently to avoid colds.

• Seek treatment for a persistent cold before sinusitis sets in.

• Avoid alcoholic drinks. Alcohol can cause swelling of nasal and sinus tissues.

This article is copy righted. The author Dr.SavithaSuri is an Ayurvedic Physician and web master of
Read complete article at

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Calcium Confusion and Reading Supplement Labels Carefully

Many of us are advised to use a calcium supplement if our daily requirements cannot be met through diet alone. Physicians may recommend a level of usage based upon elemental calcium, so it is important to read the labels on every supplement that you ingest. Elemental calcium is very important in the prevention of osteoporosis. Let’s take a look at calcium and its constituent parts.

Calcium is an element and cannot be broken down into other forms. Elements join together to form compounds, known as molecules. Calcium combines with carbon and oxygen (two other elements) to make a commonly known dietary formulation known as calcium carbonate. This molecule (calcium carbonate) contains elemental calcium, elemental carbon and elemental oxygen. Whew!

Okay, when calcium carbonate is digested, the calcium that was bonded to carbon and oxygen breaks off and returns to its elemental form. This amount is known as elemental calcium. For each tablet that contains 1,000 milligrams of calcium carbonate, only 400 milligrams (or 40%) is actually elemental calcium and becomes available for absorption through the digestive system. The rest of the tablet (about 60%) is carbon and oxygen.

Nearly all calcium supplements work similarly. They contain calcium compounds which in turn include different levels of elemental calcium, depending upon formulation. Calcium citrate, for example, provides 20% of elemental calcium, so a 1,000 milligram tablet of calcium citrate will provide approximately 200 milligrams of elemental calcium.

Calcium recommendations for men, women and children are given as milligrams of elemental calcium. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the following levels of elemental calcium should be ingested as follows:

0-6 months 210 mg.

6-12 months 270 mg.

1-3 years 500 mg.

4-8 years 800 mg.

9-18 years 1,300 mg.

19-50 1,000 mg.

51 and older 1,200 mg.

By choosing a brand of calcium supplements that meets U.S.P. (United States Pharmacopia) standards, dissolvability and absorption as well as purity standards can be assured. “Natural” sources of calcium in the form of bone meal or dolomite may contain toxic ingredients in the form of lead or mercury and therefore, should be avoided.

Since our diet is also instrumental in meeting some of our calcium needs, a future Bulletin will be devoted to providing information about which foods are best at helping us meet our daily quota of elemental Calcium

The Better Life Experts | May 29, 2009

A Quick Yoga Study

I often wondered what the value of each type of yoga position is, so I did some research to find out. All yoga positions help to develop strength and flexibility. Yet the type of yoga position that you do also offers some very specific benefits.

Standing Poses

They are included in many poses and they help to align your feet and body. This type of yoga position is especially useful in improving your posture. Standing poses strengthen your legs while simultaneously increasing flexibility in your legs and hips. They add to the mobility of your neck and shoulders and they increase the flexibility in your pelvis and lower back. One of the most basic standing poses is Mountain Pose.

Seated Poses

These poses help increase flexibility in your hips and lower back, while also strengthening your back. They add suppleness to your spine and elasticity to your hips, knees, ankle and groin. They also encourage deeper breathing, which contributes to you feeling calm and peaceful.

Forward Bends

This type of yoga position helps stretch your lower back and hamstrings. Forward bends also release tension in your back, neck, shoulders, and increase the flexibility in your spine. They often promote a sense of calmness. I find forward bends particularly challenging since I have a considerable amount of stiffness in my neck due to an old gymnastics injury. This is the type of yoga position where I often use a prop such as a strap or block.

Back Bends

They open your chest, rib cage, and hips. They strengthen your arms and shoulders, while simultaneously increasing flexibility in your shoulders. They help relieve tension from the front of your body and hips and they also increase spinal stability. You should always do back bends as a complement to forward bends in order to maintain balance in your body.


Although balance poses can be challenging, I find them to be some of the most fun poses to do. They help you develop muscle tone and coordination and also strength and agility. They help improve your posture because you really need to elongate your spine in order to keep yourself from falling over. This type of yoga position helps train your mind to focus your attention; if your attention if not focused, you will not be able to do the pose.


I love to do twists. Twists release tension in your spine and increase shoulder and hip mobility. They also help relieve backaches by stretching and opening up your back muscles. I often experience tightness in my upper back and twists help me loosen up this area. It is important to always do twists on both sides of your body in order to ensure alignment and balance.

Supine and Prone Poses

Supine poses are done on your back. They help stretch your abdominal muscles, they open your hips, and increase your spinal mobility. They release tension and strengthen your back, arms and legs.

Prone poses are done facing the floor. They strengthen your arms and back and open up your hips and groin. They relieve tension and increase flexibility in your spine. One of my favorite prone poses is Extended Seal because I find it very relaxing and it helps stretch out my shoulders and upper back.


This type of yoga position develops strength and stamina, particularly in your upper body. It also increases circulation because since your legs are higher than your heart, it reverses the normal flow of blood. Inversions help pull fluid out of your feet and legs, so they are great to do after you have been standing up for a long time. Advanced inversion poses require a great deal of strength and alignment and should only be learned under the guidance of a certified teacher. People with glaucoma, pregnant women and those who are menstruating should avoid inversion poses.

Relaxation Poses

Relaxation poses are usually done at the end of a yoga practice. They calm your mind and body and encourage a deep feeling of relaxation. This type of yoga position is often one of the most challenging poses to do, particularly for Westerners who often have a difficult time letting go. One of the most well-known relaxation poses is Corpse Pose.

There are hundreds of poses in yoga and they all provide wonderful benefits for your mind and body. By understanding each type of yoga position, you can choose a well rounded practice with asanas from each type or do those that meet your body's needs at any given time.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chocolate - a health food?

Chocolate can be good for you.

There are, however; some things you need to know about the chocolate and sweet cravings you experience.

When blood sugar levels drop below 65 milligrams, a sweet toot and sugar craving is the result. If the blood sugar level is allowed to continue below the 65 mg., headache, weakness, and even heart palpitations can occur. Thinking becomes slowed and confused which leads to grouchiness and irritability.

Many scientific studies have shown that well being and a positive disposition result when the blood sugar levels remain above the fasting level.

The average American begins the day with high sugar content foods. Think about it. You're running late for work. You skip having breakfast. You stop at the nearest 7-11 or QT on your way to work and what do you buy? Sugar laden coffee and a couple of donuts! Or maybe you drive through Winchell's Donut Shop or Crispy Cream for your morning donuts and sugar-laden coffee.

If you are in a big hurry but not that late, your breakfast consists of the quick and easy. How about pop tarts, toaster strudel, frozen waffles, or coffeecake? And sugar-laden coffee, of course.

All that sugar that's consumed in the early morning hours causes the blood sugar to skyrocket, but in an hour or so it drops to a low level again. The result? Inefficiency and fatigue! The real function of sugar is to efficiently produce energy not fatigue.

The key to maintaining an even blood sugar level for hours after consumption is by adding protein to your breakfast. Drink a glass of milk or eat some yogurt or cottage cheese with breakfast. Another name for cottage cheese is curds and whey. There have been some excellent studies performed recently on the benefits of whey including increased hormone levels and lowered body weight. By adding milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese to your morning meal, you'll be taking a healthy step in the right direction.

If you feel you need a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, eat a protein bar. I didn't say to skip the chocolate. The important point is to add some protein.

Mrs. A was bragging, "I can eat chocolate and still lose weight." It was learned that Mrs. A skipped breakfast and had only a chocolate candy bar for lunch.

She went on to say, "I have to have my chocolate. I would rather starve myself all day than to give up my chocolate."

Studies have shown that chocolate consumption is healthy because of its polyphenol and anti-oxidant properties. "Chocolate is a mild stimulant and mood elevator."1 It tastes good too. In fact, chocolate is delicious. According to a study at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, five out eight women crave sweets. The most prevalent craving being the craving of chocolate. 2

Mrs. A would be functioning at a more efficient level by replacing the candy bar with a protein bar. The craving for chocolate and sweets disappears or is at least diminished when the blood sugar level is kept high. That is accomplished by eating protein foods - NOT sugar foods.

What Mrs. A didn't realize is that when a craving becomes so intense that you think you can't live without it, it's become an addiction.

Many women crave chocolate every month during either PMS of their menstrual cycle. In addition to a blood sugar level, this craving could also be the result of a nutritional deficiency. Many "chocolate-addicts" crave chocolate because of a chromium and magnesium deficiency.

Chromium helps stabilize blood sugar levels and makes better use of insulin. This action lessens the urge to indulge in those delicious tempting morsels of chocolate.

Another supplement that helps to naturally suppress chocolate and sugar cravings is the amino acid L-Glutamine. Glutamine is known as the essential "non-essential amino acid." It is known to alleviate hypoglycemia.

In summary, chocolate and other sweets can become an addiction for these reasons:

  1. Low Blood Sugar Levels
  2. Nutritional Deficiency

Supplements that help curb the craving:

  1. Chromium
  2. L-Glutamine

he best way to curb the craving:

  1. Add Protein Foods to Your Meals
  2. Eat Protein Foods for Your Snacks
  3. Take Supplements


1. Zand, Janet, Allen J. Spreen, James B. LaValle. Smart Medicine for Healthier Living. New York, Garden City Park. Avery Publishing Company. 1999 p. 449

2. Studenmund, Gabrielle. Fitness Magazine May 2001. "Retrain Your Appetite" G & H USA Publishing, A Garner and Jahr Company. New York, N. Y. p. 55

About the author:

Bette has been writing nutrition, diet and weight loss articles for twenty years. The information she writes about is always up-to-date and timely. She'll leave you hungering for more of what she has to say.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Water and our Bodies

post by Sandra Prior

Water, next to oxygen, is the most important substance needed by our bodies. When we are dehydrated we start feeling lifeless and tired and unfortunately thirst isn't a very good indicator to when our bodies need water. Our bodies become less perceptive to thirst as we get older, which also increases our risk of dehydration.

Why Our Bodies Need To Be Properly Hydrated

1. Water helps to purify our blood.
2. It reduces the stress on our hearts and stomachs.
3. It helps to remove body toxins and flushes impurities from the cellular membranes.
4. It allows better circulation to the extremities.
5. Water prevents premature ageing. It nourishes dehydrated sagging skin, leaving it clear and healthy.
6. Water lubricates body joints and aids muscle tone and flexibility.
7. It reduces the risk of high blood pressure.
8. It reduces the risk of cancer.
9. It alleviates fatigue to the liver and kidney.
10. It helps with the recovery from illnesses.
11. Water is very important in controlling body temperature and the distribution of nutritional elements.
12. Water reduces the risk of birth defects, it protects the growth of children's intelligence and helps with baby growth.
13. It reduces the risk of Alzheimer's and it improves the memory of adults.
14. It helps with losing weight, it converts fatty deposits into energy.
15. It reduces the problem of water retention.

Existing Conditions Water Will Help Improve

1. Lower back pain
2. Diabetes
3. Chronic fatigue syndrome
4. Asthma
5. Rheumatism and arthritis
6. Allergies
7. High blood pressure
8. Depression
9. High blood cholesterol
10. Neck pain
11. Alcohol dependency
12. Colitis
13. Being overweight
14. Diarrhea
15. Headaches
16. Spastic colon
17. Heart and circulation
18. Aching bones and joints

Important Information about Dehydration:

1. When you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated.
2. Children dehydrate more easily than adults do.
3. Water allows the body to metabolize fats more efficiently.
4. Fatigue is often a symptom of dehydration.
5. The human body has no water storage to draw on during dehydration. This is why you must drink regularly throughout the day.
6. By the time you feel thirsty, your body has lost over one percent of its total water amount. So drink before you get thirsty.
7. A dehydrated skin looks much older than a hydrated one.
8. Drinking water keeps your skin looking youthful, and vibrant.
9.Perfect Water ( a product) increases your hydration

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

General signs and symptoms of dehydration include: mild to excessive thirst, fatigue, headache, dry mouth, little or no urination, muscle weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness. When your urine is dark yellow or had a strong smell, you are already dehydrated. Mild dehydration (treated correctly) rarely results in complications, but more severe cases can be life-threatening, especially in the very young and the elderly. If any two of the following signs are present, severe dehydration should be diagnosed and treatment should be started immediately:

Lethargy or unconsciousness
Sunken eyes
Skin pinch goes back very slowly (two seconds or more)
Unable to drink or one drinks poorly

How Much Water Must I Drink?

If you weigh 80kg and another person weighs 40kg and you both are drinking eight glasses of water, who is getting enough water and who is not? It all boils down to a couple of factors:

1. Body weight, for every 10kg of body weight, one big glass of water. 80kg = 8 glasses of water.
2. For every cup of coffee add one glass of water on top the amount of water you have to drink, caffeine dehydrates you as well as alcohol.
3. Depends on your activity, the amount of calories that you are burning.
4. Depends on the day's temperature. You lose moisture from your lungs with every breath.
5. Other fluids are not a substitute for water.

Minerals in Water

Minerals in water are probably the most talked about and most controversial issue when it comes to water purification.

Two different kinds of minerals: The first important part of understanding minerals in water is to know the difference between Organic and Inorganic minerals.

Inorganic minerals are minerals that never lived and are unable to bring life into our cells. They have a covalent bond which the body cannot break down. They are metals and the body treats them more as toxins than as nutrients. Our body's cells reject inorganic minerals and deposit them in various tissues: Organs, joints, bones and the circulatory system. These inorganic minerals that have been rejected by the body can lead to kidney stones, gallstones and ossification of the brain, arthritis, heart disease and the hardening of arteries.

Organic minerals once were or are now living and can bring life to and be utilized by cells. They have an ionic bond which the body can break down into usable material for tissue repair and function. They are made of a plant, or living organism and the body uses them as food.

What about the minerals in our water: Although our bodies need up to 70 different minerals on a daily basis, more than 97 percent of minerals in water are inorganic and therefore undesirable in drinking water. Inorganic minerals are removed from water during nature's water cycle, that is, during evaporation from the sun, only the water itself is removed, with the inorganic chemicals behind.

The distillation process is one filtering process that mimics what nature does on its own. So, why are these minerals removed from pure drinking water? Inorganic minerals are picked up in the ground by the water supply. These inorganic, or non-living, minerals cannot be utilized by humans or animals. However, plants can. Plants turn them into the organic minerals through photosynthesis and then they're in a form that our bodies can use. Unfortunately the inorganic minerals that pass into our drinking water cannot help us and can in fact, harm us.

In closing: Water wasn't meant to be our source of minerals, plants are our source of minerals. Water function in our bodies is also far greater than being a source of food. You will be able to survive for up to 40 days without food but only six or seven days without water.

The Effect of Chlorine in Water

Chlorine is used for treatment of public drinking water because of its toxic effect on harmful bacteria and other waterborne, disease - causing organisms. But there is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows that chlorine in drinking water may actually pose greater long term dangers than those for which it was used to eliminate. One of the biggest problems with chlorine is the fact that it increases your risk of cancer. Firstly chlorine destroys vitamin E in our bodies. Vitamin E is a very important natural anti-oxidant which is part of our resistant against diseases like cancer. That is also why your skin itches and dries out after you have taken a swim in a swimming pool that has chlorine in it. The second thing that happens when chlorine is added to water is the chlorine binds with volatile organic compounds to form thrialominithanes.

Thrihalominitanes are carcinogens which are cancer causing agents. Chlorine reports have linked chlorine and chlorine by-products to cancer of the bladder, liver, stomach, rectum and colon, as well as heart disease, arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), anaemia, high blood pressure and allergic reaction.

For Information on Perfect Water as a hydrating and Water Plus product - report here

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at

Fruit Juice or the Whole Fruit

The citrus board isn't really that concerned about whether you choose to eat an orange or drink a cup of orange juice. The growers probably prefer that you go with the juice because it's more processed, which means they can charge more for it. But putting cares of major fruit conglomerates aside, which is better for your body - whole fruit or fruit juice?

The Winner is: A draw

The Reason: Oranges and orange juice, apples and apple juice, blueberries and blueberry juice, cranberries and - you get the idea - have benefits. As long as the juice is 100% juice, with no added sugars, both it and the whole fruit used to make it are packed full of antioxidants and are good sources of slow-digesting carbs. If you find that second part surprising, you're in the old school that believes that fruit juice is an excellent accompaniment for post-workout creatine.

Science - and the glycemic index of foods - has since shown that, although it's a liquid, fruit juice doesn't go through your body any faster than whole fruit. But there is another issue involved in the choice between fruit and fruit juice - fullness.

Whole fruit must be chewed, and it does contain way more fiber (in the example of orange versus orange juice, its 4 grams in the orange to juice's half a gram); both of these factors have an impact on appetite. Research has shown that the act of chewing actually enhances satiety following a meal. Fiber further slows fruit's passage through the digestive track and that means feeling fuller longer.

For these reasons, we recommend that you pick whole fruit for a midday snack (along with protein, of course) - it will tide you over longer than juice will. However, for your pre-workout slow carbs, juice is a better choice, if just for its convenient factor. Add a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder to a cup of orange juice, shake, and you have all you need to carry you through a grueling appointment with the iron.

Posted by Sandra Prior

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at