Large Neck Size Equals Big Metabolic Problems:
A bulging stomach is widely accepted as a sign of poor metabolic health. A recent study published in the August Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (95:3701, 2010), finds a chubby neck is likely to hold even a worse prognosis for metabolic health.
The research team evaluated the relationship between waist circumference and neck circumference with levels of blood sugar, good cholesterol (HDL), bad cholesterol (LDL), triglycerides, and insulin resistance, as well as blood pressure. What was found was that neck circumference was a better predictor than waist circumference of elevated blood pressure, LDL, triglycerides and insulin resistance, with lower levels of HDL. All this amounts to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease as neck size increases. As an example, an increase in neck circumference of about one inch is expected to result in a 2.5 point rise in blood pressure.
The authors point out that the neck circumference was a more accurate predictor of cardiovascular risk in women than men. The average neck size for men in this study was about 16 inches (40.5 cm) and about 13.7 inches for women (34 cm).
Alfred Hitchcock, the famous director of suspense movies, made a trademark of his corpulent silhouette with bulging chin and abdomen. Thanks to this research we know his silhouette can signify more than a movie that will thrill you but also a metabolism that will kill you.
Gary Pepper, M.D.
Metabolism.com is pleased to share the following article provided by our guest contributor, Tom Hines.
In some ways, your body is like a machine — it works best when itâ€™s properly maintained and tuned up. Food is your fuel and when you fill your tank with lousy fuel, your engine sputters and stalls. If your bodyâ€™s engine is sluggish and needs a jumpstart, spirulina and other green superfoods can help deliver the energy necessary to keep the machine running smoothly, avoiding a breakdown.
Spirulina is a â€˜green superfood,â€™ a term used to describe various nutrient-rich natural supplements, which include Chlorella, Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Alfalfa and Kelp. Unlike most store-bought supplements, the concentrated vitamins and minerals they provide are not synthetic. Green superfoods are whole foods harvested directly from nature and are exactly what your body needs to offset stress and to clear away toxins.
SAD is very sad indeed
S.A.D. stands for Standard American Diet â€“ there was never a more apt acronym. The majority of U.S. citizens today subsist on processed fast food laden with refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. Meats are frequently tainted with growth hormones, antibiotics and pathogens. For people who manage to work the recommended five to nine daily servings of fruit and vegetables into their diet, modern agricultural techniques have stripped crops of many vitamins and minerals.
Processed and cooked foods, which are the cornerstones of the S.A.D, and beverages such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol create an acidic blood pH, encouraging the growth of bacteria, fungus and mold. In an overly acidic environment, the body literally begins to compost. Illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes are often the result of the composting process. Green superfoods have an alkalizing effect, counteracting the acidity caused by poor diet, stress and toxic overload and setting the stage for a return to good health.
Spirulina and Chlorella, the most super of the green superfoods
Spirulina is a blue-green algae whose name comes from its spiral coil shape. High quality spirulina thrives in both salt and fresh water in tropical climates and it is known to have nourished the Aztecs, who harvested the algae from Lake Texcoco. Some of the benefits of Spirulina are:
- Contains all of the essential amino acids vital to human health
- An excellent protein source for all vegetarians, including vegans
- Balances blood sugar by boosting glycogen, which offsets insulin
- Rich in GLA (gamma linolenic acid) and other essential fatty acids Delivers an array of vitamins, including the all-important folic acid
- High in potassium and a dozen other minerals
- Improves focus and mental clarity
Chlorella is a single-celled green algae whose name is derived from Greek and Latin words that translate to â€œlittle green.â€ In the 1940â€™s and 1950â€™s, intensive research was done on little green algaeâ€™s potential role in solving world hunger, due to its high protein content and its bounty of beneficial vitamins and minerals. The natural health community, meanwhile, has always touted Chlorellaâ€™s health-imparting properties, particularly in the area of detoxification. In addition to being the very best source of chlorophyll, here are some more of Chlorella supplement benefits:
- Rids the body of toxins and stored waste
- Tones and cleanses the blood
- Reduces body odor, acting as an internal deodorant
- Improves bowel health and reduces flatulence
- Naturally freshens the breath
- Clears the skin
Cereal grasses and seaweed
Wheat grass is a popular juicing ingredient due to its superior nutrition, which it delivers without raising blood sugar. It also helps to lower blood pressure.
Barley grass alkalizes the blood and strengthens the digestive system.
Alfalfa helps reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol, without affecting levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol and studies are underway to determine its effectiveness at lowering blood sugar levels and its ability to invigorate the immune system.
Kelp is a brown-algae seaweed, which grows in abundant kelp forests in shallow oceans all around the world. Kelp is rich in iodine and therefore beneficial to overall thyroid health. Its high vitamin and mineral content promotes pituitary and adrenal gland health as well. Itâ€™s renowned for its contribution to lustrous hair and skin. Taken shortly after exposure, it can also mitigate the negative ramifications of heavy metals and irradiation.
Making the most of green superfoods
Incorporating Spirulina, Chlorella and other green superfoods into the diet is easy, since they are all available in powdered form. Simply mix the desired amount into salad dressing, or add it to soup, juice or water. The taste is fresh and green and the active enzymes of living food add a healthy dimension even to a less than healthy meal. Of course, pregnant or breastfeeding women and people taking medications should consult with their doctors before incorporating any new food into their diets.
Many people who regularly incorporate green superfoods into their daily regimen have reported increased energy, mental clarity and an overall healthy glow. When stress, toxic thoughts and an imperfect diet have left your bodyâ€™s engine sluggish, green superfoods are a quick and easy way to put yourself back on the road to health. Long may you run!
About the Author
Tom Hines, co-owner of NutritionGeeks.com (MN #1 Now Foods herbal provider), has been working in the nutrition industry since 1997, is a competitive powerlifter, lives with his wife Netti and three boys TJ, Grady and Brock on the prairie in west central Minnesota, spends his leisure time coaching youth wrestling, working with his horses and being play toy #1 for his boys.
Why is everyone picking on cholesterol !? Â It is certainly one of the most misunderstood, demonized molecules that our bodies make! Â It is so important as a precursor to many important molecules in our bodies and even acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory! Â We produce cholesterol on an ongoing basis, for an ongoing reason. Â If we make too much or eat too much cholesterol, a feedback loop will kick in and slow down production for most people. Â Cholesterol drugs called “statins” triger that feedback loop and inhibit cholesterol production. Â Unfortunately they reduce production of squalene and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) as well Â so people on statin drugs often experience side effects such as muscle cramping and exhaustion.
You must be asking why would we produce cholesterol when drug companies are telling us it is bad for us, so let’s review “Cholesterol 101”. Â We are able to convert cholesterol into “vitamin” D, bile acids, cortisol and other vital hormones including DHEA, progesterone, testosterone and estrogen. Cholesterol is incorporated into our cell membranes and is one of the primary lipids in brain tissue! Does that sound like a poison to you? Â OF COURSE NOT! Cholesterol is clearly vital to our health.
I put “vitamin” D in quotes for emphasis and to get your attention. Vitamin D is actually a hormone, but that’s another lecture! Â It is produced from cholesterol in the skin, in the presence of UV light from the sun. Â We can make up to 10,000 units of vitamin D with 30 minutes or so in the sun. Â Vitamin D has several target organs including the central nervous system, GI tract, immune system, pancreas and reproductive organs. Â Vitamin D is thought to protect us from tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis and even some cancers! Â Make sure you are making or taking plenty of the “sunshine vitamin”!
What about “bad” or “good” cholesterol? Â People like to call LDL a “bad” cholesterol but that is actually misleading.
The liver produces cholesterol and sends it out for delivery on the “LDL bus.” Â It can be delivered to the cells that need it at the time. Â The “HDL taxi” will pick up left over cholesterol and return it to the liver for recycling or disposal. Â Be aware that LDL and HDL can become elevated in response to toxins such as organic solvents, pesticides, heavy metals or even dry cleaning fluid! Â Elevated blood lipids should be completely assessed before any drug therapy is initiated!
There is one “bad” cholesterol and that is OXIDIZED cholesterol. Â This can lead to a cascade of events that build up plaque in our arteries. Â So, how do we prevent OXIDATION? Â ANTI-OXIDANTS of course! Â Vitamin C and full spectrum natural Vitamin E are especially important. Â No wonder why a deficiency of Vitamin C (master antioxidant) can lead to a type of heart disease known as Â atherosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries). Â Apparently heart disease and atherosclerosis are not “statin deficiency” diseases after all!
P.S., eat the yolk of your eggs. Â Not only do they contain cholesterol that should kick in your feedback loop, but they contain important nutrients such as choline, B12, vitamin E and even vitamin D!
So there, I hope you’ve started to fall in love with cholesterol. Â I just had to defend that vital, yet defenseless molecule! Stay tuned for more ! Â Clinical Nutritionist Beth Ellen DiLuglio, MS, RD, CNSD, CCN, LD/N. Â Metabolism.com
another secret from nature
Yes you read it right, hydroxycitric acid (HCA, or “hydroxycut” used in many diet formulas that are otherwise dangerous to the body, bad bad bad) has a natural safe original source:
the Hibiscus Flower!
Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is effective in weightloss because it helps to stop the conversion of carbs in food to body fat. It fights appetite and encourages weight loss Â not by increasing your energy, but by limiting how much we convert the carbs we eat. HCA is not a good idea on low carb dieting (which is a crap idea anyhow) but it does help weight loss when used with a healthy program of general calorie restriction reducing consumption of carbs, protein, and fats equally.
Hibiscus tea affects how we absorb fats and carbohydrates because it contains phaseolamin, a powerful enzyme inhibitor that blocks amylase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down fats and carbohydrates.Â This enzyme inhibitor acts in the same way as the drugstore-pill versions, but remains in its natural, unadulterated form and is much safer and more beneficial for the body than laboratory-produced concoctions. (This can be said for almost all things, if it comes in nature, why make it in a lab?) By the way, the same form of amylase inhibitors is present in kidney beans and other hard-to-digest legumes, so eat your beans! 😉
In addition to blocking the absorption of sugars, this traditional tea has cleansing and anti-bloating properties, helping the body rid of excess fluids and therefore further contributing to weight loss, especially in premenstrual and menopausal women. It’s especially good for women as it balances our Yin (female) and Yang (male) energies when our hormones are changing.
Hibiscus tea is caffeine-free and has a high vitamin C content, it has a bright red color and a tart cranberry-like flavor, it’s like natures Kool-aide but way way better for you. Â Hibiscus tea is also known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. In folk medicine, they are used to prevent and treat heart and liver diseases. I dare you to get those benefits out of a crappy diet pill or kiddie drink!
You can find dried loose flowers in most nature stores, and some brands even market hibiscus tea bags. It’s inexpensive (no more than $20 per pound here in NY, and a full pound will last eaons) and can also be added to loose green or black tea for an added flavor.
HOW TO MAKE IT:
Steep 3-4 dried flowersÂ in about 16oz of freshly boiled water for 5 minutes. It’s so great in the summer as a refreshing afternoon drink, but to use it medicinally for cholesterol or weight loss management, I suggest you have 3 cups a day, 1 hour after each meal.
Kimberly, counselor since 1998 and founder of www.RedAppleYoga.com, holds a Masters in Health & Healing as a Certified Nutritional Counselor, a Masters in Education and is an internationally trained advanced Â Yoga and Yoga Therapy instructor that has worked and studied in New York, Spain and in Southern India. Her practice is based in New York City. She believes in showing her clients how to combine time-tested ancient theories with modern knowledge to get the best benefits from both worlds.
We’ve all heard how doing yoga is one of the best practices to adopt when trying to balance your weight, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and also to reduce stress.
But we’ve also all wondered exactly HOW these 60 minute sessions of bends and twists can promise so much?
Here’s the key to the health benefits of yoga poses:
Like traditional exercize (running, walking, playing group sports etc), yoga can get your heart rate up and tone and strengthen your muscles. But the special qualities that yoga alone offers is the attention it gives to our internal organs. Here’s a quick fact about the major types of yoga postures:
All forward bending poses will help to massage the stomach, pancreas and intestines, bringing new blood to these organs and therefore helping them to work better.
All twisting poses massage and compress the different sections of the colon, helping to manually move food along it’s route from the stomach and onwards.
Also, all “chin to chest” simple poses will massage the thyroid and parathyroid glands which are responsible for our body’s ability to properly absorb calcium in addition to keeping our sleep and metabolism regular.
Like many things in life, it is the simple stuff that is often offering the most complex benefits. If you’re new to yoga, research the variety of DVD’s, classes in your neighborhood and of course, local practitioners that can help you learn more.