Category Archives: Health advices

Eat less for longer, healthier lives

by Gigi Chow N.D. 

(NaturalNews) Diet, as a major environmental factor, has been shown to have a profound effect on many aspects of health. Specifically caloric restriction (CR) has been shown to expand the maximal lifespan of many species. While CR has not been proven to increase lifespan in humans, CR has also been shown to delay a wide range of aging-associated diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases in higher mammals, such as nonhuman primates and humans. CR may therefore increase longevity by favorably influencing broad aspects of human health.

The research

Although some define CR as a 30 to 40 percent reduction in calorie intake (as determined by daily energy expenditure) there is no “official” definition of caloric restriction, and investigations have revealed CR benefits can still occur with less-restrictive caloric intakes. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) sponsored a randomized, human clinical study to assess the safety and efficacy of CR in non-obese but overweight, healthy individuals. Researchers followed overweight, middle-aged (average age, 37) individuals for six months who reduced their daily caloric intake by 25 percent or by 12.5 percent with an additional 12.5 percent caloric expenditure from exercise. Both intervention groups demonstrated reduced body weight and abdominal fat, as well as reduced liver fat deposits and DNA damage. In addition, the participants were able to improve two markers of longevity (reduced body temperature and reduced fasting plasma insulin), as well as reduce cardiovascular risk factors (LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure).

Similar results have also been observed from another study on slightly older 50-60-year-old non-obese, overweight volunteers after one year of CR. However, some of the older volunteers also experienced decrease in muscle mass, strength, and aerobic capacity. Exercise is therefore very important for this age group in order to minimize these consequences.

Ways CR may improve longevity

There are many hypotheses on how CR minimizes aging-associated diseases and improve longevity. Possible mechanisms include protection from oxidative damage, increased cellular and DNA repair, reduction in the inflammatory molecules and therefore inflammation that may be responsible for a wide range of conditions from cancer to cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

Resveratrol may mimic CR

The significant impact of CR on delaying aging and preventing aging-related diseases has motivated efforts to identify natural or synthetic compounds that mimic the effects of CR. Resveratrol is such a compound that has garnered much research as a CR mimicker. Resveratrol is a compound found in the skin of red grapes and it is a potent antioxidant. Studies have revealed promising and universal effects of resveratrol by favorably increasing cellular detoxification, protecting DNA damage, modulating metabolic processes such as blood sugar and insulin regulation and inhibiting tumor formation and growth, all of which significantly improve human health and lead to increased human lifespan.

While there is no specific and definite composition of the CR diet, the potentially significant reduction in caloric intake requires the consumption of nutrient-dense foods, and the avoidance of “empty” calories from foods such as white flour and refined sugar. It is also important to mention that the focus of CR is on health and longevity and not merely weight loss. When adopted long-term, the CR lifestyle may be a simple way to prevent various potentially debilitating diseases and promote longevity.

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
Dr. Gigi Chow is currently in private practice in New York City.

Dr. Gigi Chow is currently in private practice in New York City.

10 Benefits of Lemon Water for Health


1. Good for stomach
Lemon can help relieve many digestion problems when mixed with hot water. These include nausea, heartburn and parasites. Due to the digestive qualities of lemon juice, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon juice regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently. Lemon acts as a blood purifier and as a cleansing agent. The intake of lemon juice can cure constipation. It is even known to help relieve hiccups when consumed as a juice. Lemon juice acts as a liver tonic and helps you digest your food by helping your liver produce more bile. It decreases the amount of phlegm produced by your body. It is also thought to help dissolve gallstones.

2. Excellent for Skin Care
Lemon, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can participate to cure problems related to skin. Lemon is a vitamin C rich citrus fruit that enhances your beauty, by rejuvenating skin from within and thus bringing a glow on your face. Daily consumption of lemon water can make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads. Lemon water if applied on the areas of burns can fade the scars. As lemon is a cooling agent, it reduces the burning sensation on the skin.

3. Aids in Dental Care
Lemon water is used in dental care also. If fresh lemon juice is applied on the areas of toothache, it can assist in getting rid of the pain. The massages of lemon juice on gums can stop gum bleeding. It gives relief from bad smell and other problems related to gums.

4. Cures Throat Infections
Lemon is an excellent fruit that aids in fighting problems related to throat infections, sore throat and tonsillitis as it has an antibacterial property. For sore throat, dilute one-half lemon juice with one-half water and gargle frequently.

5. Good for Weight Loss
One of the major health benefits of drinking lemon water is that it paves way for losing weight faster, thus acting as a great weight loss remedy. If a person takes lemon juice mixed with lukewarm water and honey, it can reduce the body weight as well.

6. Controls High Blood Pressure
Lemon water works wonders for people having heart problem, owing to its high potassium content. It controls high blood pressure, dizziness, nausea as well as provides relaxation to mind and body. It also reduces mental stress and depression.

7. Assist in curing Respiratory Disorders
Lemon water assists in curing respiratory problems, along with breathing problems and revives a person suffering from asthma.

8. Good for treating Rheumatism
Lemon is also a diuretic and hence lemon water can treat rheumatism and arthritis. It helps to flush out bacteria and toxins out of the body.

9. Reduces Fever
Lemon water can treat a person who is suffering from cold, flu or fever. It helps to break fever by increasing perspiration.

10. Acts as a blood purifier
The diseases like cholera or malaria can be treated with lemon water as it can act as a blood purifier.


1. Eat only when you are starting to feel hungry
2. Do not wait until you are really hungry or starving
3. Stick with small portions
4. Take your time to eat your food
5. You should always feel light and satisfied after your meal


6 Mistakes That Keep You Fat

By: Lisa Jones
We’re not suggesting “The Situation” as a role model. But there is one hard-body lesson you can take from MTV’s Jersey Shore loudmouth: The less body fat you carry, the better your abs will show.

Start by performing triage on the six eating habits listed here. But don’t try to banish them all at once. “Target just one or two behaviors at first—ones that you can make the most difference by changing,” says Jennifer McDaniel, R.D., of St. Louis University.

The reason: Recent studies show that we have only so much willpower. That’s why trying to break several bad habits at once can be overwhelming. But if you follow the slow and steady approach, you’ll increase your odds of sculpting a thinner, fitter physique—and keeping it for life.

Skipping Meals or Snacks
Not eating can mess with your body’s ability to control your appetite. But it also destroys willpower, which is just as damaging. “Regulating yourself is a brain activity, and your brain runs on glucose,” says Martin Ginis. If you skip breakfast or a healthy snack, your brain doesn’t have the energy to say no to the inevitable chowfest.

So skipping a feed helps turn us into gluttons at night. Your starving brain “just doesn’t have the fuel it needs to keep you on track, monitoring your diet.”

Break it: This one’s easy. Spread your calories out into three meals of about 500 calories each, and two snacks of 100 to 200 calories each, says Liz Applegate, Ph.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of California at Davis. Most men who are trying to lose weight still need at least 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day, says Applegate. More important, change your mindset, she says. Think I’m going to start a new routine, not I’m going to restrict myself. Restriction leads to overeating.

Use the nondiet approach: You’re not denying yourself food, you’re just eating it more slowly. Savoring it. Allowing your body some time so you don’t keep eating when you’re full.

In an experiment published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 17 healthy men ate 11/4 cups of ice cream. They either scarfed it in 5 minutes or took half an hour to savor it. According to study author Alexander Kokkinos, M.D., Ph.D., levels of fullness-causing hormones (called PYY and GLP-1), which signal the brain to stop eating, were higher among the 30-minute men. In real life, the scarfers wouldn’t feel as full and could be moving on to another course.

Break it: Your body is trying to tell you something, so give it a chance. Slow down and enjoy your food, says Dr. Kokkinos. Put away the newspaper and turn off the TV. Try this breathing trick from The Yoga Body Diet: Inhale while counting slowly to five; exhale and count slowly to five; repeat three to five times before eating. A study in a 2009 issue of Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that yoga increases mindful eating and results in less weight gain over time.

Pigging Out on Weekends
Weekend feasts can cause trouble beyond Sunday. In a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers used rats to examine the effects of palmitic acid on leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite. Palmitic acid is found in saturated fat, an ingredient often featured in your favorite weekend grub.

“We found that within 3 days, the saturated fat blunts or blocks the ability of leptin to regulate food intake and body weight,” says study author Deborah Clegg, Ph.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern medical center. So a Friday to Sunday of burgers, fries, and wings may prime your brain to overeat on Monday.

Break it: You don’t have to go cold turkey (though turkey on whole wheat is always smart). McDaniel suggests that your reward for a healthy week should be one cheat meal, not an entire weekend of them. After all, having an all-you-can-eat weekend is like eating poorly for nearly 30 percent of your week. That means you’d be eating well just 70 percent of the time. We call that a C minus. Do you really want below-average results?

Gorging on Salty Snacks
Sodium is insidious—it causes us to eat unconsciously. It adds up fast: popcorn at the movies, chips during the game, peanuts at the bar.

Break it: Salt cravings go away after a couple of weeks on a reduced-salt diet, says Thomas Moore, M.D., an associate provost at Boston University medical center. Not many men can replace their favorite snacks with carrots or celery, but give them a try: The crunch may be what you crave. Otherwise, try small amounts of low-sodium chips and pretzels. As you’re cooking a dish, skip the salt and, if you want, add just a dash at the table. “Salt added to the surface of a food item is far more noticeable than the same amount of salt cooked into a recipe,” says Dr. Moore. A slow reduction of your salt habit pays off in fewer cravings, he says.

Alcohol, that is. Here’s an exercise to start tonight: Write down how much beer, wine, and other drinks you consume in a week. (Use that cocktail napkin.) You may surprise yourself. Calculate the calories and expect another surprise. A reasonable-sounding two beers a night can mean more than 2,000 calories a week—almost an extra day’s worth. It can take more than 2 hours of running to burn that off . You call that a weight-loss plan? Besides the empty calories, booze undermines your willpower, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Which leads to impulse orders of, say, Buffalo wings.

Break it: Try quitting—for just a week. Check your weight and how your pants fit. See if you can live on less. When you do drink, switch to lower-carb dry red wine (about 4 grams of carbohydrates compared with almost 13 in a regular beer) or low-carb beer.

Eating in Front of the TV, Then Dozing Off
It’s a double whammy with a twist. You ingest calories while burning none, and sabotage your secret weight-loss weapon: sleep. Research confirms that people who eat in front of the tube consume more calories (nearly 300, in one study) than those who don’t, and that the more TV they watch, the less active they are. And University of Chicago researchers found that people who lost 3 hours of sleep ate about 200 more calories the next day in snacks than those who slept 81/2 hours.

Break it: Donald Hensrud, M.D., medical editor-in-chief of The Mayo Clinic Diet, says, “If you want to watch TV, be active at the same time or go work out and come back—then you can treat yourself with some TV.” And make your DVR earn its keep so you can go to bed on a regular schedule. Sleep is a fine habit when done correctly.

© 2010 Rodale Inc. |


20 Ways to Stick to Your Workout

By: Adam Campbell
You have the right to remain fat. Or skinny. Or weak. But you should know that every workout you miss can and will be used against you to make your belly bigger, your muscles smaller and weaker, and your life shorter. Unfortunately, most Americans are exercising their right not to exercise.
A recent study by the National Center for Health Statistics found that only 19 percent of the population regularly engages in “high levels of physical activity.” (That’s defined as three intense 20-minute workouts per week.)
Another 63 percent—about the same percentage as that of Americans who are overweight—believe that exercising would make them healthier, leaner, and less stressed, but they don’t do it. At the root of this problem is motivation, or the lack thereof.
It’s the difference between wanting to exercise and actually doing it. That’s why the advice you’re about to read is priceless. We’ve filled these pages with the favorite motivational strategies of the top personal trainers in the country. Their livelihoods, in fact, depend on the effectiveness of their tips to inspire their clients to exercise—and to stick with it. After all, statistics don’t pay by the hour.
And for even more ways to shape your body, check out The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises. With complete instructions of more than 600 exercises, along with hundreds of workouts and useful tips, it’s the most comprehensive guide to fitness ever created.
Sign Up for a Distant Race
That is, one that’s at least 500 miles away. The extra incentive of paying for airfare and a hotel room will add to your motivation to follow your training plan, says Carolyn Ross-Toren, chairwoman of the Mayor’s Fitness Council in San Antonio.
Make a “Friendly” Bet
Challenge your nemesis—that idea-stealing coworker or a non-mowing neighbor—to a contest. The first guy to drop 15 pounds, run a 6-minute mile, or bench- press 250 pounds wins. The key: “Make sure it’s someone you don’t particularly like,” says Michael Mejia, C.S.C.S., Men’s Health exercise advisor. (It’s okay if your rival thinks you’re best friends.)
Tie Exercise to Your Health
Check your cholesterol. Then set a goal of lowering your LDL cholesterol by 20 points and increasing your HDL cholesterol by 5 points. “You’ll decrease your risk of heart disease while providing yourself with a very important, concrete goal,” says John Thyfault, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., an exercise researcher at East Carolina University. Ask your doctor to write a prescription for new blood work in a month. You’ll just have to go to the lab, and the doctor will call you with the results.
Switch Your Training Partners
Working out with a partner who will hold you accountable for showing up at the gym works well—for a while. But the more familiar you are with the partner, the easier it becomes to back out of workout plans. “Close friends and family members don’t always make the best training partners because they may allow you to slack off or cancel workouts,” says Jacqueline Wagner, C.S.C.S., a trainer in New York City. To keep this from happening, find a new, less forgiving workout partner every few months.
Find a sport or event that you enjoy and train to compete in it. “It adds a greater meaning to each workout,” says Alex Koch, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., an exercise researcher (and competitive weight lifter) at Truman State University. Consider training for the World Master’s games, an Olympics-like competition for regular guys. Events include basketball, rowing, golf, triathlon, and weight lifting.
Think About Fat
Your body is storing and burning fat simultaneously, but it’s always doing one faster than the other. “Understanding that you’re getting either fatter or leaner at any one time will keep you body-conscious so you won’t overeat or underexercise,” says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., owner of Results Fitness Training in Santa Clarita, California.
Do a Daily Gut Check
Place your fingers on your belly and inhale deeply so that it expands. As you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles and push your fingertips against your hard abdominal wall. Now pinch. “You’re holding pure fat between your fingers,” says Tom Seabourne, Ph.D., author of Athletic Abs. Do this every day, 30 minutes before your workout, and you’ll find that you’ll rarely decide to skip it.
Join a Fitness Message Board
It’ll be full of inspiration from men who have accomplished their goals and are working toward new ones. Our particular favorite: the 52-Day Challenge. Created by a Men’s Health Belly Off! Club forum member with the username Determined, it’s designed to foster encouragement, discipline, and accountability. “Each participant posts and tracks his goals for a 52-day period so that everyone is accountable to the other members,” says Determined. To sign up, click here.
Strike an Agreement with Your Family
The rule: You get 1 hour to yourself every day, provided that you use it for exercise (and reciprocate the favor). So there’s no pressure to do household chores, play marathon games of Monopoly, or be a doting husband (a fat, doting husband). “Since it’s for your health, it’s a contract they can’t refuse. And that will allow you to exercise guilt-free while acting as a role model for your children,” says Darren Steeves, C.S.C.S., a trainer in Canada.
Burn a Workout CD
Studies have shown that men who pedal stationary cycles while listening to their favorite music will do so longer and more intensely than men who exercise without music. So burn a disc with your favorite adrenaline-boosting songs (maybe something by Limp Bizkit or—if you’re over 40—Hot Tuna).
Plan Your Workouts in Advance
At the start of each month, schedule all of your workouts at once, and cross them off as they’re completed. For an average month, you might try for a total of 16 workouts. If any are left undone at the end of the month, tack them on to the following month. And make sure you have a contingency plan for bad weather and unscheduled meetings. “You’re about 40 percent more likely to work out if you have strategies to help you overcome these obstacles,” says Rod Dishman, Ph.D., an exercise scientist at the University of Georgia.
Squat First
If you have trouble finishing your weight workout, start with the exercises you dread. “You’ll look forward to your favorite exercises at the end of your workout, which will encourage you to complete the entire session,” says John Williams, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Spectrum Conditioning in Port Washington, New York.
Have a Body-Composition Test
Do this every 2 months for a clear end date for the simple goal of losing body fat or gaining muscle. “Tangible results are the best motivator,” says Tim Kuebler, C.S.C.S., a trainer in Kansas City, Missouri. Your gym probably offers the service for a small fee—just make sure the same trainer performs the test each time.
Don’t Do What You Hate
“Whenever you start to dread your workout, do what appeals to you instead,” says John Raglin, Ph.D., an exercise psychologist at Indiana University. If you loathe going to a gym, try working out at home. (Check the Men’s Health Home Workout Bible for ideas.) If you despise the treadmill, then jump rope, lift weights, or find a basketball court. Bottom line: If you’re sick of your routine, find a new one.
Go Through the Motions
On days when you don’t feel like working out, make the only requirement of your exercise session a single set of your favorite exercise. “It’s likely that once you’ve started, you’ll finish,” says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S. If you still don’t feel like being in the gym, go home. This way, you never actually stop exercising; you just have some gaps in your training log.
Start a Streak
There’s nothing like a winning streak to attract fans to the ballpark. Do the same for your workout by trying to set a new record for consecutive workouts without a miss. “Every time your streak ends, strive to set a longer mark in your next attempt,” says Williams.
Make Your Goals Attractive
“To stay motivated, frame your goals so that they drive you to achieve them,” says Charles Staley, owner of For example, if you’re a 200-pound guy, decide whether you’d rather bench “over 200 pounds,” “the bar with two 45-pound plates on each side,” or “your body weight.” They’re all different ways of saying the same thing, but one is probably more motivating to you than the others.
See Your Body Through Her Eyes
Ask your wife to make like Howard Stern and identify your most displeasing physical characteristic. “It’s instant motivation,” says Mejia. If she’s hesitant, make a list for her—abs, love handles, upper arms, and so on—and have her rank them from best to worst. Make the most-hated body part your workout focus for 4 weeks, then repeat the quiz for more motivation.
Buy a Year’s Worth of Protein
“If a guy believes that a supplement will help him achieve better results, he’ll be more inclined to keep up his workouts in order to reap the full benefits and avoid wasting his money,” says Kuebler. Stick with the stuff that really does help: protein and creatine, from major brands like MuscleTech, EAS, and Biotest.
Blackmail Yourself
Take a picture of yourself shirtless, holding a sign that shows your e-mail address. Then e-mail it to a trusted but sadistic friend, with the following instructions: “If I don’t send you a new picture that shows serious improvement in 12 weeks, post this photo at and send the link to the addresses listed below . . . ” (Include as many e-mail addresses—especially of female acquaintances—as possible.) “It’s nasty, but extremely effective,” says Alwyn Cosgrove.


Make Every Meal Healthier

Use these simple strategies to boost the health benefits of your produce

While we’ve been dutifully eating our fruits and vegetables all these years, a strange thing has been happening to our produce. It’s losing its nutrients. That’s right: Today’s conventionally grown produce isn’t as healthful as it was 30 years ago—and it’s only getting worse.

In 2004, Donald Davis, PhD, a former researcher with the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas, Austin, led a team that analyzed 43 fruits and vegetables from 1950 to 1999 and reported reductions in vitamins,  minerals, and protein. Using USDA data, he found that broccoli, for example, had 130 mg of calcium in 1950. Today, that number is only 48 mg.

What’s going on? Davis believes it’s due to the farming industry’s desire to grow bigger vegetables faster.  The very things that speed growth—selective breeding and synthetic fertilizers—decrease produce’s ability to synthesize nutrients or absorb them from the soil.

A different story is playing out with organic produce. “By avoiding synthetic fertilizers, organic farmers put more stress on plants, and when plants experience stress, they protect themselves by producing phytochemicals,” explains Alyson Mitchell, PhD, a professor of  nutritionscience at the University of California, Davis. Her 10-year study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that organic tomatoes can have as much as 30% more phytochemicals than conventional ones.

But even if organic is not in your budget, you can buck the trend. Here,  9 expert tips to put the nutrient punch back in your produce.

1. Sleuth Out Strong Colors

“Look for bold or brightly hued produce,” says SherryTanumihardjo, PhD, an associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A richly colored skin (think red leaf versus iceberg lettuce) indicates a higher count of healthy phytochemicals. Tanumihardjo recently published a study showing that darker orange carrots contain more beta-carotene.

2. Pair Your  Produce

“When eaten together, some produce contains compounds that can affect how we absorb their nutrients,” explains Steve Schwartz, PhD, a professor of food science at Ohio State University. His 2004 study of tomato-based salsa and avocado found this food pairing significantly upped the body’s absorption of the tomato’s cancer-fighting lycopene. Check out Healthy Power Pairs for more examples.

3. Buy  Smaller  Items

Bigger isn’t better, so skip the huge tomatoes and giantpeppers. “Plants have a finite amount of nutrients they can pass on to their fruit, so if the produce is smaller, then its level of nutrients will be more concentrated,” Davis says.

4. Cook Smarter

Certain vegetables release more nutrients when cooked. Broccoli and carrots, for example, are more nutritious when steamed than when raw or boiled—the gentle heat softens cell walls, making nutrients more accessible. Tomatoes release more lycopene when lightly sauteed or roasted, says Johnny Bowden, PhD, nutritionist and author of The Healthiest Meals on Earth.

5. Eat Within a Week

“The nutrients in most fruits and vegetables start to diminish as soon as they’re picked, so for optimal nutrition, eat all produce within 1 week of buying,” says Preston Andrews, PhD, a plant researcher and associate professor of horticulture at Washington State University. “If you can, plan your meals in advance and buy only fresh ingredients you can use that week.”

6. Skip Time-Savers

Precut produce and bagged salads are time-savers. But peeling and chopping carrots, for example, can sap nutrients. Plus, tossing peels deprives you of good-for-you compounds. If possible, prep produce just before eating, says Bowden: “When sliced and peeled or shredded, then shipped to stores, their nutrients are significantly reduced.”

7. Mix Them Up

If you’re used to munching on red tomatoes, try orange or yellow, or serve purple cauliflower along with your usual white. “Many of us buy the same kinds of fruits and vegetables each week,” Andrews says. “But there are hundreds of varieties besides your usual mainstays—and their nutrient levels can differ dramatically. In general, the more varied your diet is, the more vitamins and minerals you’ll get.”

8. Opt for Old-Timers

Seek out heirloom varieties like Brandywine tomatoes, Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage, Golden Bantam corn, or Jenny Lind melon. Plants that were bred prior to World War II are naturally hardier because they were established—and thrived—before the development of modern fertilizers and pesticides.

9. Find a Farmers’ Market

Unlike prematurely picked supermarket produce, which typically travels hundreds of miles before landing onstore shelves, a farmers’ market or pick-your-own venue offers local, freshly harvested, in-season fare that’s had a chance to ripen naturally—a process that amplifies its amount of phytonutrients, says Andrews: “As a crop gets closer to full ripeness, it converts its phytonutrients to the most readily absorbable forms, so you’ll get a higher concentration of healthful compounds.”
Learn how to be a budget organic! Find out what’s worth the cost, what’s not, plus other ways to save.


How nutritious is Vitaminwater?

By Jennifer LaRue Huget
Thursday, July 1, 2010; 

Vitaminwater was on sale at my local grocery store this week, 10 20-ounce bottles for $10, which made me wonder whether anybody really needs that much of the stuff.
The major player in the “vitamin-enhanced water” market, Glaceau Vitaminwater sold 142 million cases in the United States in 2009, according to John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest, which tracks beverage sales by the case, not the dollar.
Introduced in 1996, Vitaminwater, owned by Coca-Cola, has built a strong identity in the bottled beverage world. Part of its allure is its hip-looking packaging and its engaging product names, such as Revive, Focus and Connect.
Vitaminwater tastes okay, if you like fruity flavor without the fruit. There is almost no actual fruit, even in the “Fruit Punch” variety, and what little there is mostly provides color.
But it’s the added vitamins and electrolytes that define Vitaminwater (and its competitors, including SoBe Life Water and Propel).
Do the drinks deliver?
Nancy Rodriguez, a professor of nutrition and a sports nutritionist at the University of Connecticut, says that drinking bottled water can help you track how much water you drink. Your body needs one milliliter — that’s a thousandth of a liter — of water for every calorie you consume, Rodriguez explains, so a daily diet of 1,800 to 2,000 calories requires about 1.8 to two liters of H2O. That’s close to the commonly recommended six to eight eight-ounce glasses.
But tap water works just fine, Rodriguez says. Unless, of course, you live in the District, where lead may linger in some residents’ water. (People who are concerned about this can have their water tested by D.C. Water.)
As for electrolytes, only people “dedicated” to exercising need to replenish them, she says, and then it’s necessary only if they work out vigorously for more than an hour.
“Vitaminwater,” she concludes, “is a marketing ploy.”
Tap water has the added benefits of being all but free, and free of calories. Critics have bashed Vitaminwater for being a calorie trap. While a single eight-ounce serving has just 50 calories, a bottle contains 2.5 servings, so you could easily drink 125 calories — just 15 ounces shy of the calories in a can of Coca-Cola — at once.
But, as with many other brands, Sicher says low- and no-calorie versions are gaining popularity. While sales of regular Vitaminwater dropped 28 percent last year, he says, sales of the zero-calorie, unflavored Smartwater variety jumped 33 percent. A 10-calorie version of flavored Vitaminwater introduced last year sold “very well,” Sicher says. It has been replaced this year by a zero-calorie version, which “also appears to be off to a good start.”
Dietitian Lona Sandon, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, says enhanced waters are basically “liquid vitamins, with a little added sugar or stevia.” Vitaminwater focuses on B vitamins and Vitamin C, which, Sandon notes, are water-soluble and not stored in the body, which means you need to replenish them every day. But, Sandon says, “Once you go beyond what you need, you urinate it out. You’re peeing that money away.”
A multivitamin is a better option when trying to supplement your diet, she says, because Vitaminwater doesn’t provide a full complement of nutrients as does One-a-Day or Centrum.
Better yet, Sandon suggests, food should be the source for vitamins and minerals.
“The truth is that the research on supplementing with vitamins does not prove or show that people who take them are healthier than anyone else,” she explains. Indeed, the proposed Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2010 explicitly say most people don’t need vitamin supplements.
“I would hate for someone to choose to use Vitaminwater in lieu of eating fruits and vegetables,” Sandon says. While enhanced water isn’t likely to do harm, it also cannot provide the complex, quality nutrition that produce does.
“Whole fruit, whole vegetables contain phytonutrients and fiber that work together” in ways that scientists don’t yet fully understand, she says. “You don’t find the same benefit in a bottle.”


8 Foods to Eat MORE of to Lose Weight

If you are looking to drop a few pounds, but don’t like to diet, you’re going to love what I’m about to tell you: By focusing on eating more of certain weight-loss superfoods, rather than obsessing about which nibbles are off-limits, you can reach your weight loss goal without feeling an ounce of deprivation or pang of hunger.

Pile these winners on your plate and watch the numbers on the scale plummet!

1) Pasta
Practice that fork twirl! Turns out you can enjoy spaghetti, rigatoni and all the rest, and still drop pounds—as long as you opt for a 100-percent-whole-wheat version. Whole grains contain more fiber, so it takes a smaller serving to satisfy you than standard spaghetti would. Boil up a pot for a speedy supper—just stick to a 1-cup cooked serving topped with marinara and supplement with steamed veggies to keep a lid on calories. Check out these five recipes that’ll help keep your noodles nutritious.

2) Fish
Remember that corny joke about the “see food” diet? The vitamin D in fatty swimmers such as wild salmon may curb your appetite, according to research from the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis. Marinate your fave fillet in a mixture of lime juice, garlic and cumin; chill for 20 minutes, then grill for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, flipping once.

3) Veggies
Putting a generous amount of low-calorie, high-fiber fruits and vegetables on your plate before adding a smaller portion of carbs fills you up without bulking you up. In fact, by eating at least 34 grams of fiber per day, you’ll absorb up to 6 percent fewer calories. Toss 1/4 cup navy beans on your salad (5 g), add a half cup of raspberries to your cereal (4 g), snack on an apple with the skin (3.3 g) or pair a baked sweet potato (3.8 g) with your dinner. Organic local produce often has more nutrients, so opt for pesticide-free when possible.

4) Fat
Yes, you read that right! Despite its name, not all fat will make you fat. In fact, the healthy kind helps you feel full, so you’ll eat less over the course of a day. It also aids your body’s absorption of the vitamins in other things you eat. Add a bit of healthy fat to each meal and snack, such as almond butter on an apple and olive oil on your greens, to stay satisfied and head off cravings. Looks like we should start calling fat “slim!”

5) Flax
Want to squeeze even more power from your sandwich? Choose bread that contains flax—these seeds have lignan, a phytoestrogen that may help you slim. Aim for a loaf that also has at least 3 g of fiber per 100 calories and is made from 100 percent whole grains (all the flour and all the grains should be whole). Four grams of fiber and fewer than 120 calories per slice, and is made from filling stone-ground wheat, says SELF contributing editor Janis Jibrin, R.D. Bored of the same old PB&J? Try one of these 6 souped-up sandwiches from top chefs.

6) Snacks
Fueling up on a 150-calorie snack in between meals means you’re less likely to vacuum up your lunch and dinner. Stash smart, shelf-stable nibbles such as nuts, dried fruit, energy bars and whole-grain crackers in your desk drawer, and make hummus, sliced veggies and string cheese permanent fixtures in your fridge—they’re your edible insurance against overeating! Find more slim snacking tips in our guide.

7) Eggs
Sunny-side up or over easy, an egg a day keeps the weight away! According to research, people who had eggs for breakfast ate fewer calories over the next 24 hours than those who scarfed predominantly carbs—yet they were more satisfied! Research shows you can have seven a week without raising your risk of heart disease. If you’re typically a bit, well, scrambled, in the morning, make a veggie frittata on Sunday and nuke a slice to eat each day during the week. Get cracking!

8) Spices
Want to curb hunger while adding flavor? Grab a shaker! Seasonings like cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary and sage offer major flavor for almost no fat and calories, making good-for-you foods as delicious as they are healthy. And research shows 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes on your pasta can help you eat fewer calories and fat at later meals. Make this spice and others a part of your life and you’l look hot, hot, hotter than ever!

For easy tweaks that make a big difference, try the Jump Start Diet plan at and lose big—no calorie math required!


What Doctors Wish You’d Do

Skip the 11 o’clock news, respect your mouth and 18 other stay-healthy musts

You’ve heard it before: Eat a healthy diet, exercise and don’t smoke, and you’ll add years to your life. In fact, one study found that more than half of all deaths from chronic diseases among women could be avoided by following these commonsense strategies. But there’s more to good health than just these basic tenets. “There are many surprisingly simple things you can do to improve your health,” says Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic. “It’s up to you to make smart choices on a daily basis.” Doctors give their best advice for keeping you in the pink.

Learn How to Relax
You can’t always control when stress hits, but you can control how you handle it, says David L. Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. The key is to first acknowledge its presence. When you feel the anxiety coming on, give yourself a brief time-out. Do some deep breathing–inhale through your nose for five full counts, then exhale through your mouth for five full counts–until you start to feel calmer. To counteract chronic stress, like a demanding job, build in ways to blow off steam. “Not everyone relaxes by doing yoga or meditating-a brisk walk or smashing a tennis ball might be better,” says Dr. Katz. “Just figure out what works for you.”

Know Your Resting Heart Rate
It could help your doctor identify if you’re at an increased risk of having a heart attack. In a study of nearly 130,000 postmenopausal women with no history of heart disease, researchers found that those whose hearts beat the fastest at rest were 26% more likely to have a coronary event–independent of other factors like whether they smoked or exercised. To find your resting heart rate, spend an extra minute in bed when you first wake up (hey, it’s a good excuse!) and feel your pulse either on your wrist or neck. Count for 30 seconds and multiply by 2; for best results, do it three days in a row and take an average. If it’s above 75, talk to your doc.

…And Your Waist Size
The larger it is, the greater your risk of heart trouble, finds a recent study from Harvard and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden of more than 80,000 women and men. Researchers blame abdominal fat, which is associated with cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high triglycerides. In the study, every 4-inch increase in women’s waist size was associated with a 15% higher risk for heart disease–even in people who were at a healthy weight. “A waist size above 35 inches in a woman (and over 40 in men) is a potential risk factor, not only for heart disease but also for other conditions including diabetes,” notes Nieca Goldberg, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine, medical director of New York University’s Women’s Heart Program, and author of Dr. Nieca Goldberg’s Complete Guide to Women’s Health.

Respect Your Mouth
Floss and brush daily and you’ll be rewarded with more than just a bright smile. “Your oral health has a major influence on your systemic health,” says Dr. Roizen. “The same bacteria that cause gum disease in your mouth can set off an immune reaction that may lead to wrinkles, heart disease and even stroke.” Several studies have linked periodontal disease to an increased risk of heart disease (some speculate that gum disease may cause chronic inflammation, which can in turn cause swelling around the arteries).

Drink Tap Water
Most bottled water isn’t just expensive and bad for the environment. It also typically doesn’t contain fluoride, which can help prevent tooth decay. Can’t stand the taste of tap? Use a carbon filter, which helps remove pesticide residue and other chemicals.

Skip the 11 O’clock News
The economy, war, a rainy forecast: No wonder the nightly news can leave you feeling unsettled, which can make it tough to fall asleep. And that can spell trouble for your health. “Getting good sleep is crucial to keeping your entire body running smoothly,” says Dr. Katz. One recent study found that people who got less than seven hours of shut-eye are almost three times more likely to get sick after exposure to a cold virus than those who slept eight hours or more. Other studies have associated poor sleep with everything from obesity to high blood pressure and diabetes. If you can’t doze off without a little TV time, watch something funny–just make sure you turn it off in time to get a solid seven to nine hours of rest.

Volunteer for a Cause You’re Passionate About
You’ll do good not just for others, but for yourself, too. Numerous studies have shown that volunteering has significant health benefits, including reduced rates of depression and greater life satisfaction. And you don’t have to be Mother Teresa: A little giving of your time and energy goes a long way. One study showed that people who did just 40 hours of volunteer work yearly lived longer. It’s also a great way to stay connected to your community. Get a group of friends together and help clean up a local park, visit a nursing home or organize a fundraiser. Socializing has been associated with lower risk of depression, Alzheimer’s, and overall better mental and physical health.

Get Familiar with “C”
As in c-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation (checked with a blood test) that experts think may play a role in the formation of clots that block the flow of blood to the heart. Researchers in the landmark JUPITER study of more than 17,000 women 60 and older and men 50 and older found that those who had normal cholesterol levels but slightly elevated levels of c-reactive protein reduced their risk of heart attack and stroke by taking a statin–meaning that CRP levels may be worth keeping tabs on. However, keep in mind that experts are still trying to figure out CRP’s exact role, and whether or not it directly causes heart disease or is a sign that it’s developing. “Men and women in this age group with normal cholesterol should ask their doctors about CRP,” says Dr. Goldberg.

…And “D”
“Mountains of research show the benefits of vitamin D,” such as lowering the risk of osteoporosis, “but many women don’t know their levels,” says Marjorie Jenkins, MD, executive director of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health in Amarillo, Texas. And 60% of American women are deficient, whether they live in Boston or sunnier climes like San Diego. (Your body produces D when it’s exposed to sunlight.) Because D is fat-soluble, you can get too much of it–so ask your doc to check your levels before you start taking a supplement.

Treat Your Body as Well as You Treat Your Car
“Just as your car needs regular checkups and oil changes to keep it running in top form, you need to practice preventive medicine on a regular basis,” says Kimberly McMillin, MD, a physician at Baylor Medical Center in Garland, Texas. That means getting an annual physical with a Pap smear; clinical breast exam; mammogram (for women 40-plus, younger if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer); and glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure checks. For more individualized screening recommendations on everything from hearing loss to heart disease, check out the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force’s recommendations.

Reapply Sunscreen-and Make Sure You’re Using Enough
A few dabs of daily moisturizer with sunscreen on your face offers about as much protection as an umbrella in a hurricane. Even when we’re applying it to the rest of our bodies, most of us use only 25% to 50% of the correct amount (about 1 ounce, or a full shot glass). Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Put it on about 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside, then reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating heavily.

Don’t Keep Bedroom Troubles to Yourself
Haven’t been in the mood lately? Tell your doc, and don’t be embarrassed, because low libido is often treatable. “Having a healthy sex life figures into your overall well-being, both physically and emotionally,” says Lisa Masterson, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Santa Monica, California, and a staff member at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked to higher levels of the immune-boosting antibody immunoglobulin, and one Scottish study found that people who had sex regularly (at least once every two weeks) responded better to stressful situations–their blood pressure didn’t go up too high-than those who didn’t. Even simple snuggle time can count: Another study found that frequently hugging your partner can help reduce blood pressure and heart rate.

Think of Your Home as Your Gym
Everyday activities, from gardening to housework, can add up to substantial exercise-and health benefits. In fact, you’ll burn as many calories doing basic household tasks like vacuuming and carrying groceries as you would going for a brisk walk. And every little bit counts. “As long as you’re doing some form of activity for a total of 30 minutes a day, you’ll improve your health,” says Dr. McMillin.

Know Your Family Health History
The genes you inherited play a large role in your risk of disease, so gathering the details of your family’s medical history and sharing them with your doctor can help her figure out which lifestyle habits and screening tests are key to your good health, says Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD, an internist and clinical associate professor of medicine at Emory University in Atlanta. Take some time to map your family tree–at least a couple of generations back–noting any significant diseases among your siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts and greatuncles, at what age they got sick and how long they lived with the condition. You can easily do this online at

Be Organized
Keep a list of your allergies and medications (both prescription and OTC) in your wallet in case of emergency. At home, start a health folder and keep a record of the dates and results of your most recent medical exams so you know when it’s time to schedule new ones. Also keep notes of when your prescriptions are up for renewal and whether you’ve had any adverse reactions.

Get Your Flu Shot
Swine flu scares aside, an annual dose of the influenza vaccine will go a long way toward keeping you healthy all year long. “Research shows getting a flu shot decreases hospitalization from so many conditions that can arise as a result of the flu, including asthma, pneumonia and even cardiovascular disease, by 25%,” says Dr. Roizen.

Stretch It Out
A few minutes of stretching a day can greatly improve your overall range of motion, which not only makes everyday tasks like reaching for the top shelf in the pantry easier but also reduces back or knee pain. “We spend so much time today hunched over computers, on the phone or in our cars that we forget to give our muscles a chance to lengthen and relax,” says Dr. Fryhofer. The perfect time to stretch? When your muscles are already warm, like when you’ve finished doing some basic household tasks (vacuuming, carrying laundry or scrubbing the kitchen). Do some simple stretches for your hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, shoulders, chest and back. Go to for a few.

Don’t Discount Hormone Therapy
If you’re early in menopause (in your 50s), Hormone Therapy (HT) may not be the demon you think, says Dr. Fryhofer. “It’s not for everyone, but for the right person and the right reason, hormones may be the right answer.” In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative study reported that there were more drawbacks to HT than benefits. Today, while some doctors don’t advise using HT long-term, there may be a role for using it short-term to relieve uncomfortable symptoms and boost bone health.

Make Friends with Bacteria
Your digestive system needs “good” bacteria to keep the “bad” kind at bay. Some studies have shown that these positive bacteria (also known as probiotics) can help lower the risk of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and vaginal yeast infections. But you may need more than just a few spoonfuls of yogurt to get the benefits. “Supplements–especially the live version, available in spore form–have a better chance of getting into your gut,” notes Dr. Roizen, who recommends brands like Align or Sustenex.

Go Low-Tech-At Least Sometimes
The constant buzz of your cell, PDA or other seemingly indispensable device can be doing you more harm than good. “It’s a disruption that can add significant stress to your life,” says Alice Domar, PhD, executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Waltham, Massachusetts, and author of Be Happy Without Being Perfect. If you find yourself paying more attention to your phone than to your family, or your heart speeds up whenever you see that flashing message light, take a BlackBerry break for a few hours (or even days).


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