Yes, if that vitamin is vitamin D. The best source of vitamin D is from direct sunlight. But should you or shouldn’t you get direct sunlight? We need Vitamin D; however vitamin D is not really a vitamin. In its active form it is considered a hormone. Our bodies can make it from sunlight. Its primary function is to help the body absorb calcium and phosphorous which the body needs to build and maintain strong bones. Vitamin D has also been shown to possess anti-cancer properties, as well as, affect our biorhythms, moods and behavior. Spend a few days in a cloudy environment and watch how your mood changes. Sunlight seems to lift the spirit as it strengthens the body and boost our moods.
Human kind evolved under natural sunlight, which means that we require a certain amount of natural light to keep us healthy. The problem is that we all use sunscreen to protect us from the sun’s unhealthy rays, blocking out the vitamin D. In addition if we do get our fifteen minutes of natural sunlight it is usually in the morning or afternoon and at this time the sun’s rays are not powerful enough to produce enough vitamin D. So in addition to getting sunlight we need to add vitamin D to our diet.
How does D help us to maintain and even lose weight? Well vitamin D can’t do it alone. You need to eat a healthy diet and exercise, but if you also add foods rich in D to your diet you might get an extra boost. Here’s how it works; vitamin D helps receptors in your brain keep hunger and cravings in check, as well as boost levels of the mood elevating chemical serotonin. Vitamin D also helps the body to absorb calcium. When the body lacks calcium, it may experience up to a fivefold increase in the fatty acid synthase. This enzyme converts calories into fat. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, reported that obese women given 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day lost six times more weight than women who dieted alone. So by fueling your body with vitamin D you kick start the fat burning and could potentially lose more weight, as well as protect your body from harmful cancer cells and build strong bones. What foods should you eat? The richest source is fatty fish oils and salt water fish such as sea bass, halibut, swordfish, herring, tuna and cod. Salmon is also a good source of both calcium and D. Dairy products that have been fortified with D are a great source. For supplements try VIACTIV, a calcium plus D soft chew. I like the caramel.
Over dosing on anything is harmful. Up to 1000IU a day of vitamin D appears to be safe. VIACTIV gives you 500 IU in one chew. Add fish or dairy to your daily diet and a little bit of sunlight and you will have the right mix to keeping you healthy and fit
Feeling a little sluggish and slow on the up take? You’re not alone. It’s called brain fog and although it is not very well understood anyone experiencing brain fog knows exactly what it feels like. If you’re feeling tired, your memory is slipping and you feel like, well, you’re in a dense fog, that’s brain fog. What researchers do believe is that it is in part due to fluctuating estrogen levels. Therefore a good antidote to brain fog would be a diet rich in phystoestrogens.
Here is an energy boosting tonic that will also give you a brain lift. This phytoestrogen drink is chock full of brain power nutrients. Note that rich green vegetables are a good source of phytoestrogens which are natural estrogens found in nature. They also supply us with essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E and folic acid (found in greens and lemons) that help to power the brain.
Brain Booster – for 2
An extra boost – Although too much caffeine can cause the jitters, studies show that caffeine causes a release of dopamine in the area of the brain responsible for alertness. A cup of coffee before an exam, important meeting or presentation can boost your brain power!
And the seven are…fruits, vegetables, garlic, fish, nuts, red wine and chocolate. A study published in the British medical Journal indicated that eating these seven foods every day, in the appropriate portions could reduce heart disease risk by as much as 75 percent and add an average of six years to your life. Remember the key is consistency (every day) and in the right amount (portion control). That’s balance!
You need about 25 grams of fiber every day. Packing your diet with fiber not only fills you up, but is good for your digestive system and slows down the release of glucose into your system. Too much glucose and you are at risk for diabetes. Eat plenty of leafy greens and grains like oats as well as these surprisingly fiber rich foods:
Avocados have 13.5 grams of fiber. Artichokes have 10.3 grams of fiber. A half cup of pecans has 5 grams of fiber. One cup of edamame has 8.1 grams of fiber. One cup of raspberries has 8 grams of fiber. Fill up and not out!
Everyone resolves to eat better and live healthier. The real secret to weight control is moderation. It’s not about what you eat, but how much you eat. The real reason diets fail is because we deprive ourselves of the foods we enjoy and then over indulge. Recently I had a conversation with a couple of young women about managing weight. I told them that I ate pizza. They were shocked and wanted to know how I could eat pizza and not gain weight. I explained that I started with a salad and then eat two pieces of pizza (not the whole pizza) and a glass of wine. The total caloric count for my meal was approximately 600 calories. I don’t snack at night, my lunch is about 600 calories and my breakfast is about 400 calories. I also work out every day for at least an hour. Do I feel deprived? No because I employ portion control. What does it take? Self discipline or as the success formula above says - have a vision (weight management) the desire (to stay healthy) take action (portion control) do it with persistency and consistency and you will achieve success!
Fancy diets don’t work. In fact 95% fail. Most people lose and then put the weight right back on because they haven’t learned one of the most important lesson of yoga - moderation in all things!
Plus a Holiday Drink Recipe that will warm the soul, nourish the body and please the mind!
Santa may be a little chubby in the middle, but you can reduce your belly fat and improve health with these five foods. All of these foods are high in MUFA- monounsaturated fatty acids- these fatty acids are healthy fats that should be added to a healthy diet. Avoiding unhealthy fats and empty carbohydrates along with adding these five foods and remembering the acronym SED: Strength training to preserve muscle mass, Exercise aerobically to burn fat, and your Diet should be healthy, calorie-controlled, which includes heart-healthy fats,will bring belly fat under control. MUFAs are not a silver bullet, but rather healthy fats that fill you up especially if you are on a calorie reducing diet. One of the real struggles most people have with a diet is removing fat. They feel deprived and hungry so by adding healthy fats we can reduce unhealthy snacks and empty calories. Try adding these five to your diet:
1. Oils – olive. Peanut, safflower, sesame. Walnut, soybean and canola – 1 tablespoon a day
2. Nuts and seeds – almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, sesame and pistachio( fresh not roasted)
3. Avocado ¼ cup
4. Olives – 10 large or 2 tablespoons of tapenade
5. Dark Chocolate ¼ cup
Here is a Spirited Orange Chocolate drink that is healthy, full of love, under 100 calories and great for the Holidays!
1- 12 ounce coffee mug
2 tablespoons of dark cocoa mix in a 12 ounce cup of hot water.( I used Essential Living chocolate mix – can be found at the health food store) Mix well. Add a splash (1-2 tablespoon) of Grand Marquette or Patron orange Liquor (can be found at BevMO –in stores and online). Shave about 1 teaspoon of 85% dark organic chocolate and 1 teaspoon of grated fresh orange skin and sprinkle both on top of the cocoa… enjoy!
For a party – use 2 tablespoons of cocoa per 12 ounces of water and make a carafe, coffee pot full of the cocoa mix. Serve in small espresso cups with chocolate and orange grated on top and a side of vanilla biscotti.
For non-alcohol add a tablespoon of fresh squeezed orange juice to the hot cocoa mix.
There is one food you can add to your diet that will support health in body and mind. That food is beans. Beans are a legume and a natural source of fiber as well as a great protein and a great source of pathothenic acid. Together beans support weight management and weight loss. But how? To begin with your body uses more energy to digest protein than carbohydrates so when you eat beans the metabolism is slightly raised. Further studies have shown that our bodies convert pathothenic acid to coenzyme A which is used to metabolize fat. Panthothenic acid is called the anti-stress vitamin and as we all know stress can do a number on the immune system. Pantothenic acid aids in vitamin utilization or the uptake of antioxidants, which is exactly what we need to protect ourselves from viral infections.
When it comes to aging, stress followed by a weak immune system is a contributor to wrinkles, grey hair and belly fat. Pantothenic acid (the anti-stress vitamin) found naturally in beans helps the body to fight against the attack of stress.
With the stress of the holidays upon us add beans to your diet and your holiday meals. ½ cup serving is all it takes. Other good sources of pantothenic acid are eggs, salt water fish, and whole wheat.
Don’t just sit there! A recent study published in the journal of Hypertension found that subjects whose parents had high blood pressure but, who themselves where fit had a 34 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure as compared to low fitness levels and the same parental history. But is it enough to just get your daily dose of 30 minutes of exercise a day? There is a new name for those who get 30 minutes of exercise a day and spend the rest of their time sitting; “active couch potatoes.” Seems that if you get 30 minutes of exercise a day, and then spend the rest of the day sitting behind a desk you actually have a higher risk of heart disease than those who don’t exercise at all but, keep moving throughout the course of the day. Should you stop your 30 minutes of exercise? No, you just need to keep moving throughout the day. Exercise is good for toning, strengthening and building cardiovascular capacity.
However you also need to keep moving throughout the day to keep the blood flowing and the system moving. Balanced circulation is a component of health. If you have a desk job or spend most of the day sitting here are a few tricks to get you moving. Place your trash can on the opposite side of the room. Get up and walk to it each time you need to throw something away. Place your phone away from your computer so you need to get up to answer it. Keep the TV remotes on the coffee table so you need to move, reach and stretch to get them. When doing laundry fold and put away a few things at a time. Make several trips to the closet. The point is start consciously thinking about getting up and moving even if you exercise every day. And the added benefit is that you’ll burn more calories throughout the day!
By the time you’re 50, your heart has beaten about 2 billion times. That’s a lot of wear and tear! Inflammation has a direct effect upon the arteries and brain cells triggering strokes and heart attacks. Scientists are now starting to point to body fat and a high fat diet as the culprit and rather than focus on drugs to “fix “ the problem they are now promoting what we naturopaths have been promoting for a long time – no drug will heal the body. Only nutrition and a healthy lifestyle feed and nourish the body-mind. Drugs are chemicals and chemicals do not support the body-mind with the fuel (foods) that it needs to both sustain and maintain health. Three food groups, that have a positive effect on how the body deals with chronic inflammation are rich in omega- 3 fatty acids. This would include salmon and other oily fish as well as canola oil and flax seed. Low fat dairy products also reduce inflammation as well as consuming dietary fiber such as grains, vegetables, nuts and fruits.
The moral of the story is that there is no substitution (drug) that can take the place of a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle when it comes to supporting your health. Keep your heart healthy and strong so it can give you another 2 billion beats.
“Learn to drink the cup of life as it comes.” – Agnes Turnbull
Last month one of my favorite authors died. Nora Ephron was a very funny and yet provocative voice for women. She was very talented and died way too young at the age of 71. In her book, I Feel Bad About My Neck, see writes about the bands of wrinkles that appear on the neck as we age. It is one of the first tell tale signs of aging.
Well I l don’t feel bad about my neck. I’m fortunate to have a long thin neck; however I do see that it is beginning to age. I wonder if there will come a day when I will wear only turtlenecks and scarves like Katherine Hepburn. I live in Los Angeles, so I wonder about high neck shirts in the constant warm weather of LA? Will I want to move to a cold climate to hide my neck?
In my Anti-Aging Workout class we do an exercise called bear grip which strengthen the neck and upper shoulders. It helps to keep the neck muscles strong. Strong neck muscles keep the neck looking elongated and help to improve posture. Keeping your head up and erect gives height and stature to your being. It keeps you looking younger. Let me share this neck secret with you.
Start by sitting upright on the floor or in a chair. Sit up tall, keeping the back straight and lifting the head and neck. Take your left hand and bend it outward at your neck level with the hand facing away from you and then cup the fingers. Bring the right hand around with the hand and fingers facing towards you and then bring the fingers together and form a firm grip. Pull hard to insure the fingers are locked together and the arms are pulled tight. Now inhale and move your head to the left as you pull your arms to the right and then exhale and move your head to the right and pull your arms to the left. Do this at least ten times and then bring your arms back to the center. Take in a deep breath and then release your arms. The bear grip strengthens your neck, shoulders and arms.
We spend so much time working on our abdominal muscles, our buttocks, and our hips, and often neglect those other sagging areas such as our chins and necks. It’s not that we should obsess on our chins and necks but, if we can keep them a little tighter and looking a little younger, may-be we can avoid the turtleneck look in the heat of the summer!
It’s summertime and the living is easy and the days are hot. Your body depends upon water for survival. More than half your body weight is comprised of water. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function. Water is an essential element for keeping the body-mind in good working order and helping the body to stay healthy and youthful. Every day you lose water through urination, perspiration and stress. If you don’t replace the water you can get dehydrated. Some of the symptoms of dehydration are little or no urine, dark urine, dry mouth, sleepiness and fatigue, extreme thirst, headache, confusion, feeling dizzy or light headed and no tears when crying. Most people are told to drink 6 to 8-8ounce glasses of water a day. But the truth is that different people need different amounts of water. Body size, activity level, stress level, hormonal fluctuation and weather all contribute to the amount of water you need. Water is the best option for staying hydrated although fruit such as watermelon, juice, green and herbal teas, limited coffee and most all fruits and vegetable contribute to your daily water intake. Avoid sugary, high calorie empty drinks like soda.
Tips for staying hydrated; drink water with your meal. Order a glass of water before your meal in a restaurant and drink it while looking over the menu. Keep a bottle of water with you whenever possible. Drink green tea; eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Add a little flavor with PRE a prebiotic that is sweetened with stevia. Water down your fruit juice or add pieces of fruit to your water such as raspberries, strawberries, lemons and limes.
Remember every cell, tissue and organ in your body depends upon hydration, so drink up and keep your body-mind refreshed, strong and youthful.
Zap Cellulite with the dancing warrior! I’m adding a new move to Aero*boga – it’s called the dancing warrior. It’s a march with a lunge forward and a step back. Studies show (Quincy College in Massachusetts) that lunges are the best weapon against cellulite. That’s because lunges build lean muscle in the butt and thighs, two cellulite prone zones. Tight thighs and butt reduces the jiggling dimpling effect of cellulite. Watch that your knees don’t creep past your toes and that you press the heel of your front foot into the floor while bringing your arms in front, hands raised over head for added aerobic effect. Do three sets of 12 to 20 reps on each leg, three to four times a week.