Friday, December 31, 2010

My Choice For Exercises To Lose Belly Fat

Full Body exercises are the best exercises to lose belly fat.

The reason why this type of workout burns away tummy fat is that they increase your metabolic rate and fat burning hormone response to your exercise. This is accomplished by using multiple joints and several major muscles groups all at the same time.

My choice for full body exercises that not only tone your ab muscles, but also burn away belly fat are:

  • The Dumbbell Squats
  • The Dumbbell Lunges
  • And the Bicycle Maneuver Exercise

All three of these workouts use multiple joints and major muscles groups, will increase your metabolic rate and fat burning hormone response. Performing each of these exercises daily will make your leaner and more muscular in the tummy area.

Also, use the Interval Training technique when doing aerobic exercises. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, Interval training will help you lose fat and get into shape faster than constant speed exercises. By rapidly increasing and decreasing your heart rate repeatedly over a 20 minute period, you actually use more calories than if you worked out at a constant speed and intensity. Not only that, but the Interval Training technique removes the boredom of constant speed exercising.

For additional information on exercises to lose belly fat, visit


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why You Should Lose Belly Fat

Why should you lose belly fat?

It is actually visceral fat that is the health concern. Visceral fat is the fat layer that lies under the layer of abdominal muscle. This fatty tissue surrounds our organs, and is the cause of giving us that "beer belly" physique. Research has shown that excessive viseral fat can lead to some
serios health concerns.

Below we will explore

  • Why Visceral Fat Is Dangerous To Health

  • The Proper Diet To Lose Stomach Fat

  • Proper Exercises To Lose Stomach Fat

Why Visceral Fat Is Dangerous To Your Health

Visceral fat cells are more than just stored energy. They can produce hormones that can negatively affect your health.

These fat cells can contribute to the development of breast cancer by producing estrogen. Visceral fat cells can also help develop type 2 diabetes by producing insulin resistant hormones. Research has also shown that an excess of visceral fat around your waist is associated with
and increase risk of

  • Diabetes

  • Breast Cancer

  • Gallbladder Problems

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Heart Disease

  • And Colorectal Cancer

How do you know if your waist is too large?

Measure your bare waist just above your hip bone with a soft tape measure. Don't hold in your stomach or hold your breath as you measure yourself.

You should find ways to lose belly fat if your waist is larger than 40 inches for men, and 35 inches for women. If your waist size is too large according to these guidelines, you need to lose belly fat to reduce your risk of developing some of the diseases listed above.

Happily, visceral fat responds well to a good exercise routine and diet plan. A good exercise routine and diet plan becomes even more important as we age when our physical activity and metabolism slows.

Click Here for more informatiion on the health risks of visceral fat.

The Proper Diet To Lose Belly Fat

Basically, centering your diet around whole and minimally processed grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds will help your achieve your goal to lose belly fat.

More importantly, you should stay away from these foods:

  • Enriched Flours

  • Bleached Flours

  • Foods with added sugars

  • High Fructose corn syrup

  • Junk foods and snacks

  • And hydrogenated oils

An added way to help yourself lose stomach fat is to use these tips to speed up your metabolism:

  • Frequently drink cold liquids

  • Keep yourself hydrated

  • Eat 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day rather than eating just 1 or 2 large meals

  • Eat more lean protein rich foods

  • Drink green tea or black coffee without added fat or sugar

  • And use hot peppers with your meals

Proper Exercises To Lose Belly Fat

Use full body, multi-joint exercises to lose belly fat. Ab specific exercises like situps and crunches do tone muscle, but don't burn fat. Full body exercises on the other hand burn stomach fat by increasing your metabolism and fat burning hormone production. Full body workouts accomplish this by working many large muscles groups and your cardiovascular system all at the same time.

A few examples of full body exercises are:

When doing an aerobic exercise, use an Interval Training technique rather than a constant speed and intensity technique. Interval Training involves rotating between a slow speed and intensity and a high speed and intensity cycle. For example, rotating between walking at 4 miles per hour for a minute and a half, then running at 6 or 8 miles per hour for a minute is one possible cycle. You can repeat this cycle for an excellent 20 minute Interval Training workout. Research has shown that Interval Training actually burns more calories and gets you into good physical shape faster than a constant speed aerobic routine.

Click Here for more information on ways to lose belly fat.

In summary, losing stomach fat involves switching to a healthy diet plan and a good exercise routine. Otherwise, you run the risk of developing some serious medical problems that can be avoided with some simple lifestyle changes.

Visit for added information to lose belly fat.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Motivation To Lose Weight

Everyone has a different motivation to lose weight. However, a study has found that those who are able to sustain a type of motivation called autonomous motivation during the 4 to 16 week period of a weight loss program, were more likely to actually lose weight at the end of the 16 week program.

This conclusion is summarized in a PsychCentral articled titled, "Motivation Important for Weight Loss."

The study defined autonomous motivation as "the feeling that self-control is the best way to help oneself make changes." The group that maintained and increased their feeling of self-control were more successful at losing weight than those who relied on pressure groups and tactics.

The study also concluded that weight loss programs should consider using methods that strengthen autonomous motivation during the critical 4 to 8 week period of the program. This can include more intense support, or activities that encourage and improve autonomous motivation of the weight loss participants.

Not all of us can afford this type of help, however.

There are several methods that you can use to maintain your motivation to lose weight.

The first is called the Motivational Inoculation method that can help you maintain your self-motivation to stick to the weight loss program as described in the article, "What's the Half-Life of Your Motivation for Weight Management?" These are a series of questions that you should ask yourself and honestly ponder. It is a way for you to understand your internal motivation to lose weight and stick with the program.

Another interesting method to find and maintain your motivation to do something is described in the article, " 10 Ways To Find New Motivation ." Basically,
  • Think about what losing weight will give you in return. This will help you maintain your focus on continuing with the program.
  • Keep reminding yourself why your are trying to lose weight, and why it is important to you.
  • Create a list of ten reasons why you should lose weight. Frequently remind yourself of these ten reasons.
  • When thinking about your goal to lose weight, use positive words. Thinking in positive terms about your weight loss goal will help you stick to the program and achieve your goal.

Being positive and staying focused on your internal reasons for your goal along with a strong feeling of self-control will help you maintain your motivation to lose weight.

Find additional info at Motivation to Lose Weight - The Key to Success.


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Friday, October 29, 2010

Hamstring Strengthening Exercise At Home

The Hamstring Standing Curl is a hamstring strengthening exercise that you can do at home.

When I was a teenager, many moons ago, I remember my dad wanting to take up bowling. So we went to the alley to start this new bowling adventure.

Nothing happened at first as we learned to enjoy this sport, but then as my dad got ready to throw the bowl down the alley, he turened and asked, "Who shot me?" We looked at him with a puzzling stare, and told him that no one shot him. He insisted that he was shot in the leg. Of course, we found out later that he injured one of his hamstring muscles.

Our dad, who was not extremely active, injured a muscle that he simple did not use much. This injury could have been avoided with this simple hamstring strengthening exercise - the hamstring standing curl.

The hamstrings are the three muscles in the back of your thigh. They are the
  • Biceps femoris
  • Semitendinosus
  • And Semimembranosus

All three flex the leg and extends the thigh.

You can do this easy exercise if you can stand next to a chair or counter for support, and bend your knee with one leg while standing on the other leg. The procedure is as follows:

  • Stand next to a chair, counter or table for support. Use just a few fingers to help keep your balance.
  • Keep your neck and spine straight and well aligned.
  • As you breathe out, bend your right knee, and raise your right calf behind you.
  • Hold for a count of three and lower your leg back to the starting position as you breathe in.
  • Repeat this workout with your left leg.
  • Try to do 8 to 12 repetitions at least 3 times a week, every other day. Eventually, you should be able to do this simple workout every day.

This is a great hamstring strengthening exercise and very easy to do. With this simple exercise, you should be able to avoid the type of injury that plagued my dad.


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Colon Cancer Prevention

A new Danish study concludes that 23% of colorectal cancers can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle that includes:
  • At least 30 minutes a day of exercise
  • Moderate intake of alcohol
  • No Smoking
  • A healthy diet
  • And a small waist size.

This agrees with an article written several years ago that stated that numerous studies indicated that highly active people substantially reduced their risk of colon cancer compared to sedentary people. A Chinese study also indicated that sedentary individuals who consumed high amounts of saturated fats had a four fold increase in colon cancer rates compared to individuals who were the least sedentary and consumed the least amount of saturated fats. The same article stated that their was little correlation between exercise and rectal cancer.

Ideas for your exercise routine can be found at .


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

High Intensity Workouts

Do you need high intensity workouts to be healthy?
When I heard about US swimmer Fran Crippen dying while competing in a 10-kilometer marathon in the UAE, I was reminded of an article that I read back in March. The article is titled: "Marathoners Face Greater Risk of Artery Problems - And this could lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, even death, study suggests."
According to the article, exercising too much can be just as bad as not exercising at all. The beneficial effects of exercise on our health has a "U" shape correlation. Exercising too much may put constant stress on the body, which leads to a hardening of the large arteries that can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack and even death. Exercising too little has the same bad effect.
According to the results of a 27-year longitudinal Study conducted by the Cooper Institute, the optimum level of exercise to remain healthy and increase longevity is 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on five or more days of the week. Generally, you are doing moderate intensity exercise when you are mildly breathless but can still talk with ease.
The situation with Crippen may have been the high temperature of the water at the United Arab Emirates, even though the exact cause of his death is not known. The high physical stress of the competition combined with the high water temperature could have been too much for his heart. According to another study, marathons can cause damage to your heart, but those with the best physical endurance and training program are affected the least.
Basically, you only need high intensity workouts if you plan to be a professional athlete. In that case, make sure that you stick to a well planned and researched training schedule. However, if like me, you only want to stay in good physical shape and maintain good health for as long as possible, 3 to 4 hours a week of moderate intensity exercise is all that you need.
For illustrated examples of exercises, click .

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Health Benefits Of Seeds

I never considered eating Chia Seeds until I received a free sample after purchasing some pumpkin seeds.

While investigating the advantages of eating Chia Seeds, I learned from Dr. Oz that Hemp Seeds are also a good seed to eat. Heck, I didn't even know that it was legal to purchase and eat Hemp Seeds.

So, I decided to write this little blog highlighting the health benefits of seeds.

Chia Seeds

These seeds are actually a good source of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. These seeds actually have more omega-3 fatty acids than Flax seeds.

These seeds can be stored for a long period of time without becoming rancid, and don't have to be ground like flax seed. Like most seeds, they are a good mineral source as well.

When soaked in water, the seeds become gelatinous, which can be used to thicken foods.

Additional Info On The Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

Hemp Seeds

No, you won't get high on these seeds.

These seeds are the highest of any plant in essential fatty acids. They are also an excellent source of a complete protein, since they contain all eight essential amino acids. Consider eating the hulls by grinding these seeds, since the hulls contain most of the mineral content of this seed.

Additional Info On The Health Benefits Of Hemp Seeds


This seed is high in omega-3 fatty acids. However, the seed must be ground to absorb the omega-3. It is also a good source of fiber.

This seed does not store well. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator to prevent spoilage.

Additional Info On The Health Benefits Of Flaxseeds


Yes , buckwheat is a fruit seed.

One of the reasons that I started eating buchwheat pancakes is because it is a good source of selenium. In addition, it has all 8 essential amino acids, and has more fiber than oatmeal. It is high in flavonoids, especially rutin.

Additional Info On The Health Benefits Of Buckwheat

Sesame Seeds

These seeds are an excellent source of copper, calcium and vitamin B1. Copper is necessary for tissue repair and energy metabolism. This seed is easy to store and is eaten whole. I also like the flavor.

Additional Info On The Health Benefits Of Sesame Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

These seeds are one of the best sources of Vitamins E, B1, B5 and folate. It is also a good source of selenium. It is also rich in phytosterols that help lower cholesterol.

It is available year round, easy to store and tasty.

Additional Info On The Health Benefits Of Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

These seeds may help prevent prostate problems, such as BPH. It is also a good source of zinc for prostate and bone health.

This seed is also a good source of phytosterols to reduce cholesterol. It is available year round, and easy to store.

Additional Info On The Health Beneftis Of Pumpkin Seeds

Remember that a proper diet in combination with an exercise program is essential for good health. Click on for exercise ideas.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Health Benefits Of Curcumin From The Spice Turmeric

Turmeric is that peppery, yellow spice that is used in curry. It is also the spice that makes bright yellow mustard , well, bright yellow. It is so good at making things yellow that it is used as a textile dye.

A lot of research has been conducted over the past 20 to 30 years studying the health benefits of one of turmeric's active ingredients called curcumin. A great overview of the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin can be found at Whole Foods. In summary, turmeric and curcumin are found to be

  • A potent and safe anti-inflammatory
  • An effective Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease
  • Relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • A benefit to Cystic Fibrosis sufferers
  • Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth
  • May help prevent Colon Cancer in combination with onions
  • Helps prevent prostate cancer in combination with cauliflower
  • Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia
  • Improves liver function
  • Provides cardiovascular protection
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • May provide protection against Alzheimer's Disease

Turmeric can be added to salads and vegetables to provide a tasty and peppery flavor. I like drinking turmeric tea in the morning, and it is easy to make. For 1 serving,

  • Bring to boil 1 cup of water
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric to the water and simmer for about 10 minutes
  • I don't strain the tea, but some may prefer to strain out the remaining particulates.
  • Add honey to taste and enjoy.

You can also add ginger for an added zing to the tea if you prefer.

Here are some recent research articles regarding curcumin:

Remember that diet in combination with a regular exercise program is the best way to a healthier life. For illustrated examples of exercise techniques, click .

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WebMD's Least Effective Exercises

WebMD has a nice slide show of their "9 Least Effective Exercises." Some of the least effective exercises on their list are:

  • The Lat Pull-Down Behind the Head exercise. According to WebMD, "only people with very mobile shoulder joints can keep their spines straight enough to do this exercises properly." Doing this exercise improperly may lead to a tear in the rotator cuff.
  • Military Press Behind the Head exercise. This exercise done improperly can have the same consequences as the Lat Pull-Down Behind the Head.
  • Upright Row. This exercise can compress the nerves of the shoulder.
  • Lying Leg Press with your Knees Bent Too Deeply. This can hurt your back and knees.
  • Squats on the Smith Machine. This exercise can force your body into risky positions, according to WebMD.

A couple of the recommended and safer alternative exercises are:


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Benefits of Lifelong Exercise

We have more scientific evidence that we should remain active for as long as possible to stay healthy.

The findings of another study shows that active senior men have twice the capacity for oxygen uptake than men who do not exercise. Incredibly, the active senior men have values that are similar to men 40 to 50 years younger but do not exercise.

The study is a collaborative effort between researchers at Mid Sweden University and Ball State University.

Go to for exercise ideas for your fitness program.


Monday, October 18, 2010

New American Heart Associatiion Guidelines For CPR

The American Heart Assciation (AHA) has issued new guidelines for CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).

Two of the main highlights are
  • "When administering CPR, immediate chest compressions should be done first."
  • "Untrained lay people are urged to administer Hands-Only CPR (chest compressions only)."

Trained people are now urged to start with chest compressions first, and then check the airway and administer breaths. In addition,

  • "During CPR, rescuers should give chest compressions a little faster, at a rate of at least 100 times a minute."
  • "Rescuers should push deeper on the chest, compressing at least two inches in adults and children and 1.5 inches in infants."
  • Between each compression, rescuers should avoid leaning on the chest to allow it to return to its starting position."
  • "Rescuers should avoid stopping chest compressions and avoid excessive ventilation."
  • "All 9-1-1 centers should assertively provide instructions over the telephone to get chest compressions started when cardiac arrest is suspected."


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Friday, October 15, 2010

Chest Compressiion Only CPR

Recently I updated by CPR training. The new procedure was much different than the one that I learned years ago. The compressions now occur between the nipples rather than below the sternum. The protocol cycle is also 2 breathes followed by 30 compressions.

However, a new study published in The Lancet indicates that bystanders should use chest compression only CPR rather than the standard 2-breathes and 30-compression current protocol.

The results of this study show that survival rates for compression only CPR is 14% compared to 12% for the current standard CPR. The conclusion is that "For adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, instructions to bystanders from emergency medical services dispatch should focus on chest-compression-only CPR."

The may actually convince many to give CPR to a stranger, since many of us are concerned with exchange of body fluids with a stranger. Knowing the compression-only CPR may actually be better is a big help in eliminating those concerns.

As a side note, automatic defribilators have really come down in price over the last few years. Even though it is still pricey at between $1000 and $1500, the cost is substantially down from what it used to be. An example is the Philips HeartStart Home Defibrillator (AED) for less than $1300. A good investment if you have someone in your family with heart problems.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Health Benefits Of Walking

One of the health benefits of walking as reported in a study supported by the U.S. National Institute on Aging is that walking at least 6 miles each week protects the brain from shrinkage in old age. This is also an indication that regular and frequent walking helps prevent memory problems and a decline in cognitive abilities.

This is another reason to live an active lifestyle. Similar studies have shown that those who walk at least 10000 steps each day reduce their risks of cardiovascular disease by 72% compared to those who walk only 5000 steps each day.

Longitudinal studies have also shown that we can reduce our mortality risk by 50% with 30 minutes of moderate intensity workouts on 5 or more days of the week. If you combine an exercise routine with a Mediterranean style of diet, you can reduce your risks of developing Alzheimer's Disease by 60%, according to studies by Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Gall Bladder Story

For 8 years, I had near sleepless nights due to digestive tract spasms. It actually felt like my stomach was being twisted.

My physician usually pointed to possible vision problems or stress. I knew, however, that these possible problems were not the cause of my spasms.
So, I experimented with diet and lifestyle changes. Nothing seemed to work. The spasms continued, and I slept less and less.

I finally realized that the spasms were coming from my gall bladder. Determined to keep my gall bladder right where nature put it, I started researching for possible cures.
I tried various suggestions, even the Chinese Gold Coin Grass herb. Nothing really worked.
I finally came across a suggestion that seemed plausible. It was lecithin.
I started taking 3 teaspoons of granular lecithin with meals everyday. In 2 days, the spasms stoppoed. I have continued taking 3 teaspoons of lecithin per day with my doctor's approval, and I have been spasm free for almost 2 years now.
With the spasm free nights, I sleep much better.
Lecithin contains choline compounds. Choline helps prevent the abnormal accumulation of fat in the liver. Some studies suggest that it may also help dissolve fatty deposits in the liver , gall bladder and blood vessels. Choline is used by our body to transport and metabolize fats. Choline also regulates inflamation in our cardiovascular system.
I also eat half a red beet root everyday, also. Compounds found in red beet root increases bile flow, which helps prevent fatty buildup in the liver and bile ducts. Betalain found in beet roots also converts choline to betaine, which provides anti-inflamatory functions in our body.
For more information on the benefits of exercise and a proper diet, click on .

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Barley For Breakfast

Oatmeal gets most of the attention concerning a nutritious breakfast. However, many do not realize that barley may be a better choice.

40 grams of dry oatmeal gets you about 4 grams of dietary fiber, while the same amount of dry hulled barley gets you a whopping 7.5 grams of dietary fiber.

Barley is also an excellent source of selenium, which is a powerful cancer fighter. Selenium also helps prevent heart disease.

Barley is also an excellent source of copper. Copper

  • helps your body absorb and use iron to synthesize hemoglobin
  • helps to maintain the integrity of myelin - the covering of nerve cells
  • is needed for the maturation of collagen
  • is needed for the formation of elastin and bone development
  • is used in a number of enzymes required for energy production.

The various forms of barley are

  • Hulled Barley - This form is truly a whole grain and the most nutritious form of barley. Only the outermost hull of the grain is removed. This form also required soaking and more cooking time.
  • Pearl Barley - The outermost hull is polished off, and the grain's bran layer and perhaps some of the inner endosperm layer may be removed during processing. This makes this form less nutritious than the hulled form.
  • Barley Flakes - the grain is flattened and sliced, and appears similar to rolled oats. The nutrition content can vary depending on how it is process and whether it is made from hulled or pearl barley.

Hulled barley should be cooked for about 90 minutes, while pearl barley requires about 1 hour of cooking. What I usually do is place the barley in boiling water, and then turn off the heat and cover. I let the barley soak in the hot water overnight. The next morning, I cook the soaked barley for about 20 to 30 minutes and serve hot.

For one serving, use 1/4 cups of dry hulled barley. Soak in 1 to 1 1/4 cups of boiling water overnight - turn off heat and cover for overnight soaking. The next morning, cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. Add salt to taste. I also add 1/4 teaspoons of cinnamon, and a drop of vanilla. I then add the cooked barley to 1 chopped banana, 1/4 cups of raisins and 1/4 cups of chopped walnuts in a cereal bowl.

Barley is more chewier than oatmeal. However, I enjoy the taste, and it gives me a hearty and nutritious breakfast.

For more information on Barley see

For oatmeal information and recipes see


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Americans Take Fewer Steps Each Day

Study results from the University of Tennessee have shown that Americans fewer steps each day than people from Australia, Switzerland and Japan.

Interestingly, study results also show that 34% of Americans are obese, compared with 16% in Australia, 8% in Switzerlan and 3% in Japan. Being more physically active by walking does have a major impact on our health. In another study by the Pennisngton Biomedical Research Center found that those who walk 10000 steps each day reduce their odds of developing cardiovascular disease rish factors by 72%. This is compared to those who walk less than 5000 steps each day.

We can increase our steps per day by taking more walking trips.

  • Get your own coffee or water rather than asking someone else to get it for you.

  • Walk to lunch or the store

  • Walk to soccer practice

  • Use stairs rather than an elevator or escalator

  • Keep the TV remote on the other side of the room

  • Use a push rather than riding lawn mower

  • Hand deliver messages rather than using the phone or email

Click on " Walking 10000 Steps Per Day " for more information on the benefits of walking.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Exercise Diet and Dementia

A presentation at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference at Honolulu, suggest that physical activity, tea, Vitamin D and Walnuts may reduce dementia risk in older adults.

Long term studies, according to the presentation, have shown that people who routinely perform moderate to heavy levels of physical activity had about a 40% lower risk of developing any type of dementia. Those reporting the lowest levels of physical activity were 45% more likely to develop any type of dementia.

The presentation also reported that people who consume tea at a variety of levels had significantly less cognitive decline by 17 to 37%.

It was also reported that "the odds of cognitive impairment were about 42% higher in those who were deficient in vitamin D, and 394% higher in people who were severely deficient."

Studies with mice have shown that there may be a protective effect of walnuts on cognitive abilities. Alzheimer's mice on a 6 to 9% walnut diet showed significant improvement in learning, memory and motor coordination.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet from WebMD

" Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet " by Kathleen Zelman of WebMD is a good summary of the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet combined with physical activity.

Recent studies have shown that the Mediterranean Diet provides thousands of micronutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help protect against cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. The fiber in this diet also slows down digestion, which prevents wild swings in blood sugar, reduces insulin resistance and improves insulin sensitivity, according to the article.

You can increase life expectancy and your health that by not smoking, eating a Mediterranean type of diet, drinking alcohol in moderation and doing 30 minutes of daily, moderate exercise.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Brain Energy Restored by Sleep

In an article published by PsychCentral titled "Sleep Restores Brain Energy", it is reported that research conducted at the Harvard Medical School shows the energy levels in the brain are dramatically recharged in the initial stages of sleep.

The researchers measured a chemical that is responsible for energy transfer in cells called adenosine triphosphate or ATP. They found that ATP levels in certain areas of the brain increased when rats were in non-REM sleep as brain activity decreased. When the rats were awake, ATP levels remained steady. When the rats were kept awake 3 to 6 hours past their normal sleep times, there was no increase in ATP.

This shows that a sleep dependent energy capacity surge is necessary for restorative processes absent during hours of wakeful activity.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Gender Specific Formula for Peak Heart Rate

According to a report published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, women have a new formula that estimates the peak heart rate that a healthy woman should attain during exercise.

Previously, both men and women used the formula, 220 minus age, for the peak heart rate that should be obtained during exercise. Now the formula for women is 206 minus 88 percent of age. In comparison, the original formula gave a peak heart rate of 170 for 50 year olds. The new formula gives a peak heart rate of 162 for 50 year old women.

The peak heart rate becomes important when using the chronotropic index. Studies have shown that men who score less than 0.8 on the chronotropic index have a higher risk of dying prematurely. However, this study assumed that the peak heart rate is 220 minus age. It has been found that this assumption made the prediction of premature death less useful for women. The new formula for peak heart rate may improve the prediction of the chronotropic index for women.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Christy Matta published an excellent article on Breathing Exercises that calm the body at PsychCentral titled "Exercises to Calm The Body." Following are two additional views on the importance of breathing.

"The Complete Book of Pilates For Men" by Daniel Lyon, Jr.

"This brings us to the principle of breathing, which Joseph Pilates emphasized a great deal. 'Above all else learn how to breathe properly. Squeeze every atom of air from your lungs until they are almost as free of air as is a vacuum,' he wrote. But first, a caution: When drawing your navel to the spine during an exercise, sucking in your stomach in such a way that makes you hold your breath will only weaken your powerhouse. Do not hollow out your midsection. Instead, hold the abdominals in so that the stomach doesn't expand on the inhale but rather remains firm and - depending on your girth and powerhouse strength - hourglass-shaped at the waistline. Think of lying on the floor and tightening up your stomach because someone is about to stand on it. This will help you fully breathe into the sides and back of the ribcage while maintaining a strongly engaged powerhouse. Keep your stomach firm on the exhale as you pull your navel to the spine. Anything that hinders your breathing, such as sucking in your gut, will consequently slow or stop your movement. "

"Joyful Wisdom" by Yongey Mingyur

"Begin by sitting with your spine straight and body relaxed. If it's more comfortable, you can lie down. You can keep your eyes open or closed. Just breathe in and out naturally through your nose. And as you do, gently bring your attention to the changes in your body as you breathe, especially the expansion and contraction of your lungs and the rising and falling of the muscles in the abdominal region. Don't worry about concentrating too hard, thinking 'I've got to watch my breath...I've got to watch my breath.' Just let your mind rest in bare awareness of the changes occurring as you breathe in and out. Don't worry, either, if you find your mind wandering as you continue the exercise - that is simply another lesson in impermanence. If you find yourself thinking about something that happened yesterday, or daydreaming about tomorrow, gently bring your attention back to the changes in the body as you breathe. Continue this exercise for about a minute."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Moderate Coffee or Tea Consumption for Health

In a study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association, consumption of tea and moderate coffee consumption are linked to a reduces risk of heart disease.

Researchers in the Netherlands found that drinking more than 6 cups of tea each day reduced the risk of heart disease by 36%. Interestingly, drinking 3 to 6 cups of tea each day reduced the risk of heart disease by 45%. This is a comparison to people who drink less than 1 cup of tea each day. Drinking 3 to 6 cups of tea each day appears to be the optimal amount for health.

The report also shows that drinking 2 to 4 cups of coffee each day reduced the risk of heart disease by 20% compared to those drinking less than 2 cups or drinking more than 4 cups. Drinking 2 to 4 cups of coffee each day is the optimum amount.

Apparently, neither tea or coffee affected stroke risks.

Mediterranean-Style Diet Improves Heart Function

A study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes reports that people who follow a Mediterranean-Style diet may have a reduced risk of heart disease by maintaining heart rate variability. This means that the autonomic system controlling a person's heart rate works better in people who eat a Mediterranean-type of diet. This reduces their risks of coronary artery disease and sudden death.

By studying twins, the study showed that even with a genetic predisposition to cardiovascular disease, eating a Mediterranean-style diet can improve heart function, and reduce the risk of heart disease and sudden death.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Exercise After Heart Attack Rehab

A new study as found that only 37 percent of patients were exercising even three times a week after one year following a heart attack, bypass surgery or angioplasty. Guidelines suggest exercising five times a week.

The study also found that women were less likely than men to exercise, and younger men were more likely than women and older men to adhere to their exercise program. More work is needed to convince these patients that regular exercise needs to be a lifelong habit.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

HDL and Lower Cancer Risk

According to the research conducted at the Tufts Medical Center Molecular Cardiology Research Institute, "For about a 10-point increase of HDL, there is a reduced risk of cancer by about one third over an average follow-up of 4.5 years." However, this association is not necessarily a linear relationship. "We can say that higher levels of HDL are associated with a lower risk of cancer, but we can't say that one causes the other," stated Dr. Richard Karas, executive director of the Institute.

In other words, HDL levels alone may not reduce cancer risks, but is a result of life style traits that lead to a lower risk of cancer, such as proper diet and exercise. However, HDL may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the risk of cancer. Further test are needed to determine the exact role of HDL in reducing cancer risks.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Exercise to Reduce the Risk of Falls

After analyzing the results of the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, it was found that younger people fall as much as older folks. It was also determined that two hours a week of exercises can reduce the risk of falls. These results will appear in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

However, it was also found that the relationship between physical activity and walking-related falls are stronger with men than women. Men who are more fit fall less. However, women of all fitness levels tend to fall with equal frequency, and more often than men.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Exercise Reduces Angry Mood

The results of a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's 57 th Annual Meeting in Baltimore reported that exercise may reduce anger in men.

According to lead investigator Nathaniel Thorn, Ph.D., a stress physiologist, "the major novel finding from this study is that exercise protected against angry mood induction, almost like taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack." Exercise may actually be like taking medicine for anger.

The research was conducted on 16 collegiate men who rated high in "trait anger."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Breathing Exercises Boost Performance

The results of a new study that was presented at the June 3, 2010 annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine shows that daily breathing exercises helps boost performance during endurance activities. Breathing exercises, also known as Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) reduces the amount of oxygen needed by muslces used for breathing. This makes oxygen available to other muscles during physical activities.

Below are two common Breathing Exercises to help you boost your physical activity performance.

Bellow Breathing or Stimulating Breath Exercise

  1. Sit up with your spine straight.
  2. With your mouth closed but relaxed, breathe in and out of your nose about 2 to 3 breathes each second.
  3. This action moves the diaphragm quickly like a bellows.
  4. In your first attempt at this exercise, do it for no longer than 15 seconds. With practice, you can slowly increase your exercise time by 5 seconds up to and not exceeding 1 minute.
  5. Be careful to not hyperventilate.

Abdominal Breathing or Relaxing Breath Exercise

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth.
  2. Take a slow and deep breath through your nose. This should take about 4 counts to inhale.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of 7.
  4. Slowly exhale through your mouth. This should take up to a count of 8.
  5. Repeat this cycle again 4 more times for a total of 5 deep breaths.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Link Between Oral Hygiene and Cardiovasculas Disease

Results of a study published in the May 27,2010 issue of BMJ indicate a strong association between oral hygiene and cardiovascular disease. Based on a survey of 11,869 Scottish men and women, those with poor oral hygiene had a 70% increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Those who brushed their teeth infrequently also had an increased concentration of C Reactive Protein in their blood. C Reactive Protein is a measure of inflamation in the body. It has been speculated that long-term exposure to body wide, low level inflamation promotes cardiovascular disease.

In addition to daily exercise, it is a good idea to brush our teeth twice a day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Walking Helps Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors

In a study led by Peter T. Katzmarzuk and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the number of steps taken each day can help improve your cardiovascular health.

The cardiovascular risk factors measured in the study are

  • Abdominal obesity (waist size)
  • High levels of triglycerides
  • Low level of HDL or good cholesterol
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • And Elevated fasting glucose

According to the study, more steps per day taken was associated with significantly lower odds of having at-risk cardiovascular disease profiles. On average, for each additional 1000 steps per day taken, was associated with a 8 to 13% reduction in the odds of having a large waist circumference, low level of HDL and high levels of triglycerides.

Those that took 10,000 or more steps each day had 72% lower odds of having the cardiovascular risk factors compared to those that took less than 5000 steps each day. This agrees with the recommendation to walk 10,000 steps each day for chances of optimum health.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Elderly Daily Exercise and High Blood Pressure Treatment May Help to Prevent Falls

A study published in the May 18, 2010 issue of Neurology states that daily exercise and treatments for high blood pressure may help to prevent the risk of falls among the elderly.

The study conducted by Farzaneh Sorond, M.D. at the Institute for Aging Research concluded that seniors with the smallest blood flow change in the brain had the greatest risk of falls. The findings show that low changes in blood flow to the brain is associated with slow gait and the development of falls in the elderly. Only 18 percent of 85 year old seniors have a normal gait. These gait abnormalities are strongly associated with falls.

Daily exercise and high blood pressure treatment can improve blood flow to the brain, and decrease the risk of falls.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Benefits of Long-Term Exercise

HealthDay has just released an excellent article titled " With Long-Term Exercise, Being 80 Is Just a Number " and written by Jenifer Goodwin.

Lawrence Golding of the University of Nevada, started a lunchtime exercise program for men, which lasted for about 20 years. " Some of those men, aged 30 to 51 when the class began, stuck with the program for more than 20 years. And today they're reaping the benefits of that commitment. Now graying and many of them grandfathers, they have cholesterol and triglyceride levels that are better than when they were younger, and their aerobic capacity, flexibility and strength have not shown expected age-related declines. "

This agrees with similar results of the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, which the results were discussed by Steven Blair in an interview with The New York Times. It is those results that the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association has based their recommendations for Physical Activity guidelines for those over 18 years of age.

In conclusion, " Along with a healthy diet, staying mentally active and socially engaged, exercise is emerging as one of the key ways of staving off chronic diseases and, in general, staying healthier in old age, experts say. "

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Eating Nuts Reduces Total Cholesterol and LDL

In a recent press release, a new study shows that eating a third of a cup of nuts a day can reduce total cholesterol by 5.1 percent and LDL levels by 7.4 percent. Also, the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol was improved by 8.3 percent, and caused a decrease in triglyceride levels by 10.2 percent.

The results were reported by researchers at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health in California after analyzing data on 583 men and women who had participated in 25 nut consumption trials.

Even though most nuts will produce the same beneficial results, the best evidence for the beneficial effect came from the studies of walnuts and almonds.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Does Brain Training Improve Cognitive Abilities?

Alvaro Fernandez of SharpBrains does a good job on his commentary about the results of a recent brain training experiment in Britain, in his article titled " BBC 'Brain Training ' Experiment: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly ."

The good is that brain games do not improve cognitive function in general. These games will help you improve at doing one particular task, but will not improve your overall brain health. For example, doing cross-word puzzles will help you improve at doing cross-word puzzles, but nothing else.

The bad of this experiment in Britain is that the experiment was poorly designed and lacked adequate quality control. The amount of training time was very low, and there was no quality control as participants did their testing at home with no supervision.

The ugly is that the researchers made a large conclusion from a single negative findings of a flawed experiment.

If people truly want to improve their cognitive abilities, I believe that they must seriously work at it. Simply playing games will not help much. We should focus on

Friday, April 30, 2010

Red Beets Nutrition - Miracle Vegetable

The red beets nutrition and health benefits come from its red pigment. This was first noticed by Dr. Alexander Ferenczi of Csoma, Hungary in the 1950's. Dr. Ferenczi noticed that patients would experience clinical recovery from cancerous tumors when place on a diet of raw red beets or red beet juice.

We now know that the red pigment is a betacyan called Betanin. Red beets also contain other cancer fighting substances such as folate and glutamine according to an article on Medicinal Whole Foods. Research also shows that the whole beets should be eaten and not just the juice. Many of the health benefits of red beets is found in its fiber.

Besides fighting cancer, such as colon cancer, red beet fiber also has been shown to reduce serum cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels while increasing HDL levels in animal studies. Serum cholesterol and triacylblycerol levels were decreased by 30% and 40%, respectively. Aortic cholesterol was also decreased by 30%.

Red Beets also contain Betaine. Studies have shown that betaine along with folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, help reduce toxic levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acide that at high levels is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Other studies have suggested that betaine may help protect against fatty deposits in the liver. Food sources of betaine are red beets, broccoli, whole grains, spinach and Quinoa.

Eat fresh red beets for good nutrition and receive its full health benefits.

See also " Beets ".

Fatty Liver Diet

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Folate and Vitamin B-6 Helps Protect Against Stroke and Heart Disease

In a Japan Collaborative Cohort Study titled " Dietary Folate and Vitamin B-6 and B-12 Intake in Relation to Mortality From Cardiovascular Diseases, " it was found that women who ate foods high in folate and vitamin B-6 were less likely to die from stroke and heart disease. Men who ate a diet high in these vitamins were less likely to die of heart failure. Vitamin B-12, on the other hand, had no association with reduced risk of death from Cardiovascular disease.

Foods that are high in folate are

  • Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Collard Greens
  • Beets
  • Green Peas
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Avocados
  • Boccoli
  • Romaine lettuce
  • and Peanuts

Foods that are high in vitamin B-6 are

  • Tuna
  • Banana
  • Chicken Breast
  • Turkey Breast
  • Cod
  • Salmon
  • Snapper
  • Halibut
  • Beef Tenderloin

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Four Unhealthy Habits

According to a study published in the April 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine by Elizabeth Kvaavik titled "Influence of Individual and Combined Health Behaviors on Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Men and Women", a combination of four unhealthy habits greatly increases your risk of premature death.

The bad habits that lead to premature death are

  • Smoking
  • Consuming fruits and vegetables less than three times daily
  • Less than two hours a week of physical activity
  • and weekly consumption of more than 4 ounces for women and 6 ounces for men of alcohol.

Those with all four bad habits were about three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease or cancer, and four times more likely to die from other causes. These bad habits also age you by about 12 years.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Exercise May Help Speed Wound Healing

In a study conducted by Charles Emery at The Ohio State University, it is found that regular exercise may speed up wound healing by as much as 25 percent in older adults.

The three-times per week exercise session followed this exercise schedule:

  1. 10 minutes of warm-up and stretching exercises.
  2. 30 minutes of pedaling.
  3. 15 minutes of jogging or brisk walking.
  4. 15 minutes of strength training.
  5. 5 minutes of cool down exercises.

At the end of the 3-month study, it was found that skin wounds healed on average 10 days faster in the people who exercised regularly following the above mentioned exercise schedule.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wider Use of Statins

" Should Cholesterol Drugs Be Used By Those Without High Cholesterol? " is an interesting articles published by HealthDay. Cardiologist love statins, and claim that the risks are worth the benefits of the drug. A recent study using 18,000 people and financed by AstroZeneca showed that those that took the drug for 1.9 years had a 44% lower risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems. That is why the FDA has approved Crestor for some people with normal cholesterol levels.

Other doctors, however, are cautious, and I am too. Many studies have shown that statins can lead to muscles problems and even diabetes. Dr. Duane Graveline in a book titled "Lipitor: Thief of Memory, Statin Drugs and the Misguided War on Cholesterol," writes about his experience with statins. For some, statins have caused temporary memory loss to the point that these people can not mentally function properly.

Personally, I prefer to stay away from statins, regardless of the current studies claiming increased longevity with this drug. I prefer a proper diet, exercise and some alternative medicine options such as artichoke leaf extract, fish oil, phytosterols and psyllium to keep my cholesterol at acceptable levels. I have simply seen too many people on statins deteriorate mentally. For me, the risks are not worth the rewards.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Physical Activity and Weight Control May Help Improve Decision Making Ability

A new study has found that high levels of a protein called C-reactive protein (CRP) slows down the brain's decision making time. The ability to plan and to make the appropriate behavior selections may also be affected. CRP is a marker for inflamation in the blood.

Aspirin, statins, physical activity and weight control help to lower the levels of CRP in your body.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Junk Food Addiction

In a study conducted by the researches at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, findings suggest that junk food addiction may be real.

Rats given an unlimited access to high-fat, high-calorie foods needed to consume more and more to maintain the same level of pleasure. Apparently, reward circuits in the brain became less responsive to stimulation, which is similar to what happens when one becomes addicted to cocaine or heroin. The rats even endured a mild electric shock in order to obtain the food. They just continued to overeat and become obese.

When the high-fat foods were taken away in exchange of a more healthy diet, the rats refused to eat, even though they were starving. High-fat, high-calorie diets can lead one to become compulsive overeaters.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Diet and Exercise Can Improve Thinking

From a report by Duke University, exercise and diet may improve the range of cognitive function.

According to the report, "Physical activity does seem to have a direct effect on brain cells. There are neurochemical changes that happen with exercise. There is increased production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which stimulates connection with other brain cells, but also there is some evidence that it helps grow new brain cells."

"And the combination of good eating and exercise also produced the expected physical advances. Diet-and-exercise participants lost an average of 19 pounds and lowered systolic blood pressure by 16 points and diastolic pressure by 10 points by the end of the four-month program."


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Erectile Dysfunction Strong Predictor of Death

In a press release from the American Heart Association, it is reported that erectile dysfunction should be considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

German researchers have concluded that "erectile dysfinction is a strong predictor of death from all causes and of heart attack, stroke and heart failure in men with cardiovascular disease. Researchers found that men with cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction - conpared with those without erectile dysfunction - were twice as likely to suffer death from all causes and 16 times more likely to suffer the composite of cardiovascular death, heart attack, stroke and heart failure. "

Monday, March 15, 2010

Marathon Runners May Be At Increased Risk For Heat Disease

According to a press release by the American College of Cardiology, "new data show regular marathon runners have increased stiffness of the large arteries, suggesting that some types of higher intensity exercise may negatively impact heart health."

"Our data suggest that exercise may have an inverted U-shape relation with arterial stiffness. In other words, when you do not exercise you have higher risk of cardiovascular events, but the same also happens when you exercise too much, said Despina Kardara, M.D., Athens Medical School, Hippokration Hospital, Athens, Greece, and lead investigator of the study. Regular long-term endurance training is generally beneficial for heart health, but it seems that the cardiovascular system is like a sports car engine. If you do not use it, it will decay, but if you run it too fast for too long, you might burn it out."

"Researches say there may be several explanations for arterial stiffening in Marathon runners. One plausible theory is that extreme exercise may place repeated and excessive stress on the artery wall leading to its fatigue."

"Ebndurance athletes should be cautious about the amount and volume of their training programs, trying not to wear themselves out, and always work in close collaboration with their physicians, especially before participating in an intense endeavor like marathon running."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mindfulness Training

" Building Fit Minds Under Stress "

Mindfulness Training, a form of meditation, has been shown to improve mood and working memory, according to a University of Pennsylvania led study. "Mindfulness is the ability to be aware and attentive of the present moment without emotional reactivity or volatility."

The study emphasized integrating mindfulness exercises such as attention on the breath and midful movement into pre-deployment training for Marines being deployed to Iraq. These mindfulness skills were to regulate symptoms in the body and mind following an experience of extreme stress. The findings indicate that engaging in mindfulness exercises on a regular basis may improve mind-fitness. "Building mind fitness with mindfulness training may help anyone who must maintain peak performance in the face of extremely stressful circumstances."


Monday, February 22, 2010

Sleep and Memory

In a HealthDay article titled " Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter ", studies are showing the taking a nap after studying can improve your performance on tests. Apparently, a phase of non-dreaming sleep boost memory.

This type of research is not new. In an article by Dr. Shannon Moffett titled " Sleep, Tetris, Memory and the Brain ", she discusses her experiences with sleep researcher Dr. Robert Stickgold. His research has shown that sleep improves both procedural memroy and declarative memory. Procedural memory is the type of memory that is created when you practice a musical instrument or learn to play tennis. Declarative memory has to do with facts such as where you put your keys. According to Dr. Moffett, just sleeping on new information somehow cements the new info into your mind so that it is resistant to interference.

Check out these short videos for more information on Dr. Stickgold's research on sleep - Why Sleep Matters.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mediterranean Diet And Your Brain

In the article titled " Mediterranean Diet May Help Keep You Smarter ", it is reported that adhering to a Mediterranean Diet - olive oil, whole grains, fruit, vegetables and fish - may protect aging brains from damage linked to cognitive problems. This is the result of a study conducted by Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

The study involved 712 men and women averaging 80 years of age. People who followed a Mediterranean Diet moderately well were 21 percent less likely to have brain damage than pelple who did not follow a Mediterranean Diet regimen. Those who followed this diet most closely had a 36 percent reduced risk compared to those who followed it the least.

In a earlier study, it was shown that a Mediterranean Diet combined with exercise could help lower the risk for Alzheimer's Disease. This is probably the result that those who eat the healthiest have the fewer number of brain infarcts associated with cognitive decline.

"Boosting plant food intake can improve heart health and reduce body weight, but now it appears it may aid brain health."


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Life's Simple 7

The American Heart Association has issued its " Life's Simple 7 " for cardiovascular health.

"Ideal cardiovascular health for adults is defined by the presence of these seven health measures, known as "Life's Simple 7":

  • Never smoked or quit more than one year ago;

  • Body mass index less than 25 kg/m2;

  • Physical activity of at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity each week;

  • Four to five of the key components of a healthy diet consistent with current American Heart Association guideline recommendations;

  • Total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL;

  • Blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg;

  • Fasting blood glucose less than 100 mg/dL."

Use the Body Mass Index Calculator to determine or Body Mass Index.