What's NUTRITION got to do with it?

Nutrition has a great deal to do with it.

Many diet plans recommend calorie control and low-fat foods as the way to weight loss. This approach can actually starve the body of the nutrition it needs to maintain health while signaling it to put on weight. This outcome is very undesirable, of course.

In fact, proper nutrition requires consuming some fats and cholesterol for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, proper energy levels and immune system function and for reproduction.

You will be the healthiest when you eat unprocessed foods, take nutritional vitamins and supplements and get enough physical activity to stay fit. The rewards of eating a nutritious diet are more than worth any sacrifices.

Eating unprocessed foods means eating fresh vegetables raw or lightly cooked every day, as well as eating more fresh fruit instead of desserts or candy.

Besides the increased nutrients you'll obtain, you will increase the amount of daily fiber intake, which is beneficial for good health.

But many people eat large quantities of candy bars, soda, cookies, etc., which have little nutritional value. Your energy and moods can improve dramatically if you change your eating habits and avoid consuming these kinds of foods.

Most often, diets and high calorie foods actually create strong cravings and more stress. Blood sugar levels fluctuate back and forth from high to low, and often hormone imbalance is created, which leads to other problems.

The high carbohydrate, low-fat diets cause many women to at first lose some weight...then gain most of it back. The whole dieting process leaves us feeling like failures - as though willpower had anything to do with it!

Better nutrition can help you be healthier!

Change your diet by consuming organic meats, eggs, milk, and poultry that contain no growth hormones and antibiotics. Request organic foods at your supermarket or find one that already sells it.

Foods made from whole grains (corn, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, rye, oats,) are complex carbohydrates and they stabilize your blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings. This type of nutrition is a good source of protein, fiber and nutrients.

The best breads are whole-grain breads - choose brands without added sugar. Whole grain cereals are also the best for you. Unsweetened granola and less refined Quaker oats are good choices. Health food stores have probably the best choice of cereals.

Seeds and nuts are good sources of protein and should be fresh, raw and unsalted. Nuts and seeds should be eaten in small amounts, because they are high in calories. Many diets are deficient in phytoestrogens, which are found in fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Organic vegetables and fruits would be preferable if you can get them. Vegetables contain compounds called phytoestrogens that compete for estrogen receptors in your body, helping block the effects of excess estrogen, which causes all kinds of health problems.

Most vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. People that eat lots of vegetables have lower cancer rates of all kinds. Most fruits are rich in nutrients and fiber and can help you with sugar cravings.

Fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, beans and legumes are good sources of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, green peas and many others are great for making soups, with salads or with grains (brown rice).

Fresh cold-water fish and seafood are important in the diet - salmon, tuna, mackerel, cod, sardines, shrimp and herring.

Cold-water fish is a good source of protein and of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Cold-water fish oils are good for arthritis symptoms, they help lower cholesterol and thin the blood.

U.S. farm-raised salmon is fed antibiotics, synthetic colorings, and fish-meal byproducts that contain the probable carcinogen PCB's.

WILD SALMON, however, is 100% natural in its flavor, color, and important Omega-3 content. And wild salmon tastes great! Read more about this truly great natural food harvested from the clean, cold Pacific Northwest waters - wild salmon.

Do not use plastic containers to microwave your food, and try to avoid storing your food in plastic containers. Plastics are made from petrochemicals (called xenoestrogens) that generally have a very potent estrogen-like activity and thus are toxic.

Replace the petroleum-based home cleaning products with natural cleaning products that are much safer and won't keep adding to the chemical exposure overload that's so much part of everyday life in industrialized countries.

Increase your intake of water (8 to 10 glasses daily is ideal). So many of the bodily functions rely on the body being adequately hydrated.

Buying a good water filter is recommended to eliminate chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals and other toxic substances found in tap water. You will be surprised how much better filtered water will taste, as compared to regular tap water. Learn more about the health benefits of filtered water.

Since it is difficult to eat perfectly every day, taking a quality multiple vitamin/mineral supplement makes sense. Capsules are more easily absorbed than tablets. See which are the best vitamins for women and men.

Avoid foods like cola drinks, chocolate, alcohol, hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, candy and commercial pizza. These foods may give you quick energy, but they give you very few nutrients, and you probably will end up having a craving for one or more of these foods. All these foods are high in calories and low in nutrition.

Have no more than one alcoholic drink per day if you're a woman and no more than two if you're a man. Drinking excess alcohol raises the levels of fat in the blood, it can increase the chances of becoming an alcoholic, it increases your calorie intake and it increases estrogen levels in the body.

Alcohol depletes the body of vitamin B and certain minerals. It is also toxic to the liver, and it can disrupt the liver's ability to metabolize hormones, thus causing higher than healthy levels of estrogen in the body.

Become healthy BEFORE you lose weight, and keep it off. Once you get healthy, your body will naturally seek and maintain its ideal weight.

Here are the things that will work:
Follow an eating plan like the one in The Schwarzbein Principle. You'll have protein at every meal, low carbohydrates, very little processed food and lots of fruit and vegetables and water.

Be sure to take a medical-grade nutritional supplement, including a fatty acid supplement. Your health and hormonal balance depends on a supply of rich nutrients. Stop weighing yourself and stop worrying about the weight gain. Use your clothing size as your gauge.

For more information on beginning an exercise program, see this fitness equipment information.

Walking 4-5 times a week for 30 minutes each time is perfect. Something more vigorous is fine but not necessary. Exercise is essential for a healthy metabolism. If you want to learn more, review the list of benefits of exercise and weight loss.

The #1 reason for the lack of fitness is the lack of any exercise. And a lack of exercise is one of the major factors in obesity. Not exercising can mean an increased risk of illness, obesity, less energy, and even hormone imbalance.

Treadmills are #1 for losing weight and getting in shape. Learn more about how to lose weight using treadmills here!

If you recognize that you are eating emotionally, get some counseling. The underlying emotional issues create other health problems too. And they won't go away without intervention.

Reduce the stress in your life to the extent that you can. Make some time for yourself if you possibly can. If you have obvious digestive problems, or take the steps above and don't see results, discuss potential blocking factors with your primary care provider. There are simple, reliable tests to find out.

Love and accept yourself. Focus on your health, not your weight. And if you fall off your program, just get back on. If you can't do it all, do whatever small changes you can do.

To review health books by authors like Harvard-trained Dr. John R. Lee, Dr. Jesse Hanley, Dr. David Zava, Dr. Susan Lark, Dr. Jonathan Wright, Dr. Alan Gaby, and Dr. Schwarzbein, see below for recommended titles.

Womens Health Bookstore - visit the bookstore for health books.

Women - protect your health with vital information about nutrition, fitness, premenopause, menopause, osteoporosis, thinning scalp hair, fibroids, unwanted facial hair, breast cancer, depression, endometriosis, HRT, PMS, high blood pressure, weight gain, un-needed hysterectomy, and miscarriage.

Men - learn more about what typically happens to male hormones in the 40's and after. There are well-known consequences to declining hormone levels - for example, learn more about symptoms of male menopause.

The traditional American plate contains a large serving of animal protein, a small serving of vegetables and some form of potatoes or refined grain product. This plate provides too many calories and too few nutrients to help you maintain a healthy weight.

Perhaps you need to change the proportion of foods on your plate. That is, increase the amount of plant-based foods and decrease the amount of animal protein. Your plate should be two-thirds (or more) vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans and one-third (or less) dairy products, meat or other animal-based protein.

Too often we sit at the table and enjoy a deliciously healthy meal only to end up pushing away from the table - stuffed and miserable. Make sure this does not happen to you everyday or during the holidays. Portion sizes are important. It is not just what you eat, but also how much you eat that matters. If you consume supersize meals every day, it will be difficult to lose weight.

Eat slowly and practice portion control - this does not mean you have to eliminate your favorite foods. Just eat smaller quantities. It is also recommended that you eat your heavier meals earlier in the day, and a lighter meal in the evening. While you are asleep, it is healthier that your digestive system is not busy digesting food. The night is the time when the body repairs itself.

If you are going to make nutritional changes in your life, make it exciting and fun. Use fun tablecloths, candles, maybe attractive dishes, or even dress up to celebrate what you are doing for yourself or for your family and friends.

Cook outdoors if and when you can - invite your best friends and have a good time as well as eating well. Healthy nutrition can also taste great!

Have fun with nutrition! And enjoy life!

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