Super acai berries

A bit about acai

Acai berries, previously considered an exotic fruit, have now become a virtual staple in almost every supermarket’s collection of health foods and supplements.

No longer the sole preserve of health stores and delis, these nutrient-dense berries have become increasingly popular in the form of dietary supplements, food powders, shakes and juice boosters. But why?

This growth in use and popularity is in no small part due to the significant media attention they have received, since being more widely recognised in the West as a “superfruit”. In other words, a fruit with an exceptionally high nutrient-to-calorie ratio compared to other fruits of a similar kind. For example, in terms of antioxidant, essential fatty acid, vitamin or mineral content.

Although having only just relatively recently entered the wider public consciousness, South Americans native to the Amazon have been enjoying the health benefits of these tasty berries for many years. In fact, they are considered to be an essential food source for three traditional Caboclo populations in the Brazilian Amazon, because they make up a major component of their diet – up to 42% of their total food intake by weight! A fact which reflects their incredibly high nutrient content.

Found only in swampy areas of the Amazon rainforest (Central and South America), acai berries are pretty rare – which explains why they hadn’t popped up on supermarket shelves before. They are small and round (approximately 25mm in size) and grow on large palm trees called açaí palms, which can reach over 80 feet in height. The berries grow in bunches (similar to bananas) and an average açaí palm tree can yield between 3 to 8 bunches of berries.

Once ripe, acai berries bear a strong resemblance to grapes and blueberries, except that they are not quite as pulpy. They contain a large, inedible seed, which constitutes as much as 90% of the entire fruit – yet another reason they weren’t more widely cultivated as a culinary fruit.

Acai nutrition

As mentioned above, although hard to find in their natural whole food form, everyone can now fortunately access the nutritional benefits of these berries on a daily basis through the convenience of health supplements. Food-based powders and food form supplement capsules now often incorporate both acai berry powder and concentrated extract. But why might you want to incorporate acai berry nutrients into your daily diet?

Immune system support:
A big clue to their high nutrient content is given away by the deep blue / purple colour of acai berries. Like most other brightly coloured foods found in nature, they contain natural pigments, which support immunity, health and vitality. For example, flavonoids and potent antioxidants (such as anthocyanins). They are also a rich source of Omega 6 and Omega 9 fatty acids (healthy fats).

Heart health support:
As well as containing high levels of anthocyanins, research has also shown that acai berries are rich in phytosterols, which may provide cardio-protective support for our cells.

Energy support:
Relatively speaking, acai berries contain high levels of plant protein. Combined with their high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients, they can offer ideal support for high energy levels, stamina and general vitality.

Weight management support:
When trying to shape up, you are obviously looking to decrease your intake of high-calorie unhealthy foods, in favour of nutrient-packed foods that are naturally low in calories. Not only will this promote a healthy weight, it will also help to ensure that your general health remains strong during any periods of slimming and reduced food choice. In this way, acai berries can provide ideal weight management support as part of an overall balanced diet.

So now you know a little bit about why acai berries have been causing a stir in the natural health world. And these are just some of their nutritional benefits. Plus, if you favour an organic lifestyle or are trying to detox, it is worth bearing in mind that acai berries are wild harvested, as opposed to farmed. This means that they aren’t exposed to the harmful pesticides and fertilisers so often found in other fruit and vegetables.

They offer great all-round healthy living support, so why not try them for yourself!

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Meal shakes for weight loss

Healthy weight management – losing weight and keeping it off!

Protein powders and meal shakes are now two of the most popular and versatile types of dietary supplements available.

Meal shakes and protein powders

Support a balanced diet, appetite control and more…

Meal shakes and protein powders are used for a wide variety of reasons, by a broad spectrum of people, for various health goals. For example:

  • by slimmers seeking low-calorie, nutrients-fortified healthy snack alternatives
  • by those leading an active lifestyle, for support of high energy levels
  • by those with food allergies or intolerances (such as a dairy allergy or gluten intolerance)
  • by those who are health-conscious, as a quick and easy nutrients top-up everyday
  • by those on low-protein diets, such as vegetarians and vegans
  • by those with restricted food choice, such as slimmers, who wish to maintain optimum nutrient intake.

Weight management

A number of studies have suggested that a high-protein diet combined with regular exercise can support the natural weight loss process, enhance fat burning and improve muscle tone and blood fat levels. Most notably, protein can assist in the repair and growth of muscle. This, in turn, leads to more calories being burned each day.

Diets with higher levels of protein may also help people to gain better control over their appetites and calorie intake, as well as help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cravings.

Everyone knows that the slimming process can be a challenge. Most weight management programmes involve limited food choice and a reduction in calories. This can sometimes result in a nutrient-deficient diet, if the slimmer is not careful.

For those who want to reduce their calorie (and fat and sugar) intake, but nevertheless want to make sure that they are getting a good amount of quality lean protein, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients daily, meal shakes and protein powders can provide ideal support, particularly if they are sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and fortified with nutrients.

Of course, nothing replaces a balanced diet, but meal shakes and protein powders can be helpful in terms of substituting unhealthy snacks and boosting nutrient intake.

An active lifestyle

While protein is an essential macro-nutrient for everyone, it is particularly important for those leading an active lifestyle. It plays a key role in keeping the immune system strong and keeping energy levels high. In fact, it is one of the main sources of energy for those following a low-carbohydrate diet.

Vegetarians, vegans and raw food / living food fans

For vegetarians and vegans, a common issue is that they do not take in sufficient calories or protein to meet their body’s full nutritional needs.

Protein is a vital nutrient, which plays many roles in the functioning of our bodies, including building and repairing new cells and muscle tissue, and keeping the metabolism functioning efficiently.

Nutritional guidelines recommend that, as a broad rule of thumb, between 10-15% of total calories should be sourced from protein – ideally, lean protein.

However, a vegetarian or vegan diet does not have to mean a diet lacking in protein or healthy calories – there are a number of excellent plant-based sources out there, which offer high-quality, balanced and complete protein. What’s more, if you are a vegetarian or vegan trying to lose weight, your available protein sources are actually more conducive to your weight loss goals than traditional protein sources (which are high in saturated fat and calories). Plant protein tends to be high in fibre, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and healthy fats.

If you are a vegetarian or vegan who finds it hard to include these first class plant protein foods in your daily meals, vegan meal shakes and protein powders can play an incredibly helpful role in your diet, to address not only the problem of ensuring appropriate intake of protein and calories, but also to assist with daily nutrient supply.

Dietary supplementation

Anyone who lives with an allergy (whether that be to gluten or dairy or any other form of food allergy or intolerance), will know how hard it can be to find foods that suit their lifestyle and/or medical needs. This becomes even more challenging when you are trying to lose weight.

Food choice can often become very limited and, without variety in the diet, a person’s overall well-being can start to suffer. This is never ideal, but when you are in the process of slimming, you really need all the energy you can muster to support increased levels of physical activity.

It is important to bear this challenge in mind and take proactive steps to address it. For example, through careful meal planning and dietary supplementation.

Quite often, slimmers with allergies or intolerances find that meal shakes and protein powders that are dairy, wheat, gluten and sugar free (with no artificial ingredients) can help them to top-up on nutrients and healthy calories, while helping to keep them fuller for longer.

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Carbohydrates and weight loss

Cut down on carbs to lose weight faster

You should eat fewer carbohydrates if you want to lose weight quickly.

Having said that, there is no need to cut out carbohydrates entirely if you are trying to lose weight and, in fact, that would not be a healthy step. Carbohydrates are an essential energy source for the body, but you should certainly cut back on the amount you are consuming – simple carbohydrates in particular.

In contrast, there are some healthy carbohydrates that you can eat that will actually give your body fuel to function, thereby facilitating exercise, a faster metabolism and weight loss.

The key is therefore controlling your carbohydrate intake, tailoring it to support weight loss instead of creating an obstacle to weight loss.

Which carbohydrates for weight loss?

Carbohydrates typically sit in the body and are very difficult to completely burn off. For best weight loss results, you therefore need to understand the difference between “good” and “bad” carbohydrates, finding those that are going to help (rather than hinder) your efforts.

There are some carbohydrates that offer you little or no nutritional value, and that can actually cause your blood sugar levels to spike and possibly create an insulin imbalance. It is important to consume a majority of healthy carbohydrates if you want to lose weight and keep it off.

Carbohydrates, such as fruit, vegetables, grains and other plant-based sources are healthy options that will support all-round nutrition, fibre intake, a fast metabolism and a feeling of satiety, at the same time as carbohydrate intake for energy levels. Examples include:

  • barley or barley grass
  • quinoa
  • chickpeas
  • wholegrains
  • sweet potatoes
  • oats
  • bananas
  • beetroot
  • grapefruit
  • and many more.

But one word of caution… While fruit is, of course, highly nutritious, beware not to over-indulge given the high levels of sugar. Even though these are healthy fruit sugars, they can still contribute to weight gain. Balance your diet carefully.

Eat smart, plan well

Changing the way you eat will most likely be one of the key factors that will help you achieve your weight-loss goals. Almost certainly, years of poor eating habits have led to the excess weight in the first place. It is those habits that need to be reversed.

Instead of eating your big meal in the evening, try changing it to lunch. Try not to eat starchy carbohydrates after 3pm; instead make your final meal of the day no more than three hours before bedtime. That meal should be a light meal high in lean protein and nutrients, but low in calories.

Sugary drinks, refined sugar and other processed foods are all things to avoid at all costs. Carbonated beverages, in particular, are full of sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates, and can also add to any cravings that you experience. Instead, choose a bottle of water to reduce the thirst that you have and help you to feel fuller, if you want to stay as healthy and slim as possible.

Also try to ensure that you have a little bit of lean protein in all of your meals, even breakfast. Protein tends to fill you up more than carbohydrates or fats would.

To help you lose weight, plan on eating a substantial healthy breakfast each morning. This strategy will help you avoid overeating at lunch time or craving snacks between the meals. Egg whites are a good choice.

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Healthy blood sugar levels

What is your blood sugar level?

A person’s blood sugar level (also known as serum glucose level or plasma glucose level) is the amount of glucose (sugar) present in their blood at any given time.

Why is glucose important?

Glucose (also known as dextrose) is a simple sugar that is made by the body using carbohydrates from the diet. It is necessary for a wide range of essential bodily functions. In particular, it is important because it provides energy to tissues, the nervous system and the brain.

Glucose is transported from the intestines or liver to body cells via the bloodstream, and is made available for cell absorption via the hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas.

Glucose that is not directly used as an energy source by brain cells, intestinal cells and red blood cells are sent to the liver, adipose tissue and muscle cells, where it is absorbed and stored as glycogen. The glycogen stored by the liver can be converted back to glucose and returned to the bloodstream whenever insulin is low or absent.

How is blood sugar level measured?

Blood sugar is normally measured in molecular count, the unit for which is mmol/L (millimoles per liter). It is also sometimes measured as a weight in grams, the unit for which is mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter).

What is a healthy blood sugar level?

Normally, the body keeps its blood glucose level at a reference range of between 3.6 and 5.8 mmol/L (or 64.8 and 104.4 mg/dL).

The mean normal blood glucose level in humans is around 4 mmol/L (or 72 mg/dL), although the level obviously fluctuates throughout the day. As you might expect, glucose levels tend to be lowest in the morning, before the first meal of the day and spike after eating for 1 – 2 hours by a few milliMolar.

However, when it comes to diabetics, blood sugar fluctuates more widely.

How can blood sugar levels affect your health?

As glucose provides your body with the energy that it needs to carry out important physiological functions, too little sugar / glucose (a low blood sugar level) or too much sugar / glucose (a high blood sugar level) can lead to serious health problems.

Blood sugar levels outside the normal range may also be an indicator of an underlying medical condition, where this is not caused by the diet.

Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia

A persistently high blood sugar level is referred to as hyperglycemia, whilst low levels are referred to as hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia is a potentially fatal condition. Symptoms include lethargy, impaired mental functioning, irritability, shaking, twitching, weakness in arm and leg muscles, pale complexion, sweating, paranoid or aggressive mentality and loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, brain damage is possible.

By contrast, hyperglycemia can involve the appetite being suppressed in the short term, with longer term health problems including heart disease, diabetes and eye, kidney, and nerve damage.

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is characterised by persistent hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. It is the most common disease related to failure in blood sugar regulation.

For those with diabetes, it is particularly important to keep blood sugar levels within normal ranges, otherwise serious health complications can occur. For example, nephropathy (kidney disease), neuropathy (nerve disease), retinopathy (eye disease) and cardiovascular diseases (heart diseases).

Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is another example of a condition where blood sugar levels are important. In this case, the body does not recognise the consumption of sugars and carbohydrates and this means that it continues to pump out insulin which is not needed. If this continues for a prolonged period of time, the pancreas can shut down and cease to produce insulin altogether. If care is not taken by those who have this condition to ensure a healthy diet and balanced blood sugar levels, it can eventually lead to type two diabetes.

What other factors can affect blood sugar levels?

Many factors can affect a person’s blood sugar levels. For example, it can be temporarily elevated as a result of severe stress (such as trauma, stroke, myocardial infarction, surgery or illness) or as a result of medication use, which can cause glucose levels to increase or decrease.

Alcohol intake also causes an initial surge in blood sugar, which later tends to cause levels to fall.

Keeping your blood sugar levels healthy

Making positive and healthy lifestyle choices (and, if necessary, changes) is a good first step to keeping your blood sugar levels under control. For example, taking regular exercise and (if required) losing weight in a sensible and healthy way.

Dietary changes, in particular, can be incredibly helpful in keeping blood sugar levels within normal ranges. For those with restricted diets (such as diabetics), it can often be a challenge to ensure an optimum intake of nutrients on a daily basis. Many people therefore also find that high quality, nutrients fortified meal shakes, as well as other health supplements designed to help keep blood sugar levels stable, can help with this.

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What is coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease (pronounced see-liac and spelled celiac in other countries) is an autoimmune disease, not an intolerance as is often assumed.

This means that the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues, through the production of antibodies. In the case of coeliac disease, this reaction is triggered by gluten.

Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat and related cereals, including barley and rye. If eaten by coeliacs, it inflames and damages the lining of the small intestine.

The primary functions of the small intestine are to breakdown and absorb the nutrients in food. In untreated coeliac disease, the cells lining the small intestine become flat and inflamed and their surface area significantly reduced. This results in a reduction in the absorption of nutrients from food and can lead to malnutrition and deficiencies in vitamins, iron, folic acid and calcium. Sugars, proteins and fats are often poorly absorbed as well.

Coeliac disease is closely related to dermatitis herpetiformis, which is an autoimmune blistering disorder associated with a gluten-sensitive enteropathy.

What causes coeliac disease?

The precise cause, or causes, of coeliac disease are not yet known. However, it is believed that there are three primary factors that underlie its development. These include:

  • an environmental trigger (in this case gluten)
  • a genetic susceptibility
  • an unusually permeable gut.

Occasionally, the stress of an operation, accident, intestinal infection or pregnancy can trigger the onset of the condition.

How is coeliac disease diagnosed?

Research shows that coeliac disease affects around 1 in 100 people in the UK, making it much more common than previously thought. Under-diagnosis is also significant problem, with it being estimated that around 500,000 people have not yet been diagnosed.

Coeliac disease can be diagnosed at any age. For example, even babies can be diagnosed – after weaning, when cereals containing gluten are first introduced into their diet. However, the most common age of diagnosis is currently between 40 and 60 years old.

What are the symptoms of coeliac disease?

The physical signs of coeliac disease vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe – it affects people differently.

Symptoms may present in the digestive tract, or in other parts of the body. For example, one person might have diarrhoea and abdominal pain, while another person may be irritable or depressed. In fact, irritability is one of the more common symptoms in children.

Some of the most common symptoms generally include: tiredness, anaemia, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, weight loss, vomiting and mouth ulcers.

Unfortunately, some people present no symptoms at all. While this may sound like a good thing, such people are still at risk of the complications associated with the disease. The longer a person goes undiagnosed and untreated, the greater the chance of developing malnutrition and other complications. Anaemia, delayed growth and weight loss are signs of malnutrition, because the body is just not getting enough nutrients.

In addition, increased incidence of rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus, autoimmune thyroid disease, sarcoidosis, vasculitis, pulmonary fibrosis, osteoporosis, infertility and other diseases of the gut have been reported in coeliac patients.

How is coeliac disease treated?

Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure for coeliac disease. However, the primary treatment, which is usually very successful, is to remove all sources of gluten from the diet. This approach is also effective in cases of dermatitis herpetiformis.

Concern has surrounded oats containing gluten (as some people with coeliac disease are also sensitive to oats), but studies have shown that consumption of a moderate amount of oats does not worsen dermatitis herpetiformis or celiac disease.

A gluten-free diet is a lifelong commitment, and adherence to a strict diet is difficult to achieve; gluten is present in various foods that are consumed on an everyday basis. Improvement of symptoms can also take several months and requires patience and staying-power. Having said that, a well-planned diet can deliver excellent results.

Nutritional supplementation, in conjunction with a well-balanced diet, is also recommended for patients on a strict gluten-free diet. This will help to ensure that they are receiving the broad spectrum of nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals) that they need. In particular, nutrients-fortified gluten-free meal shakes can be a safe, easy and effective way to achieve this.

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How does diabetes affect your health?

What is diabetes?

The technical bit

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, where the body is unable to produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is required to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy. The human body has to maintain its blood glucose level within a very narrow range. This is done by using insulin and glucagon. The function of glucagon is to cause the liver to release glucose, which provides the body’s cells with the energy that they need.

What it means in practice

Simple put, this means that the body is unable to properly use the energy it gets from food. Normally, most of the food we eat is broken down or digested into sugar or glucose. Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, helps the glucose get inside the cells where the glucose is then burned for energy. For people with diabetes, their bodies cannot make enough insulin or they are resistant to the insulin their bodies make. As a result, their blood glucose becomes much higher than usual.

Types of diabetes

There are two types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes: An autoimmune process in which the immune system destroys insulin-producing cells and the pancreas therefore fails to produce any insulin.  

Type 2 diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs when the pancreas either doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells fail to respond to insulin. It has previously been called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).

Between 90% and 95% of people who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

How is diabetes diagnosed?

A normal fasting blood glucose range is about 65 -100. When your blood sugar is 126 or higher after fasting for eight hours, a diagnosis of diabetes is made.

Type 1 diabetes is usually first diagnosed in children, teenagers or young adults. However, it can develop at any age.

Symptoms of diabetes

The classic symptoms of diabetes are:

  • extreme thirst (and a feeling like dry cotton balls in the mouth)
  • frequent urination
  • weight loss (despite increased appetite)
  • fatigue and drowsiness
  • blurred vision
  • nausea
  • skin infections
  • and recurrent vaginitis.

These can come on quite quickly in a Type 1 diabetic, but can develop slowly (taking years in some cases) in a Type 2, which makes it more difficult to diagnose.

Causes of diabetes

Although the precise cause or causes of diabetes are unknown, both genetic and environmental factors appear to play key roles. For example, it is now generally accepted that high-sugar diets, obesity / being overweight, lack of exercise, family history and stress all increase the risk of contracting diabetes.

Type 1

Type 1 diabetes can be caused by an autoimmune disorder or many other factors that could affect the pancreas. For instances, people have been known to contract this type of diabetes because of medical treatment for another problem, which has then resulted in damage to the pancreas as a side-effect.

It is thought that Type 1 diabetes is partly inherited and then triggered by certain infections, with some evidence pointing at the Coxsackie B4 virus. There is a genetic element in individual susceptibility to some of these triggers which has been traced to particular HLA  genotypes  (i.e., the genetic “self” identifiers relied upon by the immune system). However, even in those who have inherited the susceptibility, Type 1 diabetes mellitus seems to require an environmental trigger.

Those suffering from this type of diabetes are required to take insulin by injections or insulin pumps in order to survive. Most people who develop Type 1 are otherwise healthy and are not generally overweight or inactive. As such, treatment must usually be continued indefinitely.

Type 2

Type 2 diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, poor diet, family history, history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity. Clinically-based reports and regional studies suggest that Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, although still rare, is being diagnosed more frequently. This could be linked to, amongst other things, the rise in childhood obesity.

People who carry excess weight, especially in their middle section, are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes because the fat in their tissue causes an imbalance of insulin in the body.

Other health complications linked to diabetes

Diabetes is a serious condition, which can have devastating effects on the whole body. It is an autoimmune disease that can play havoc with the body’s organs and circulatory systems.

When a person’s blood sugar levels are continuously high, it can lead to kidney failure, the need for amputations, skin problems, heart problems and neuropathy (nerve damage). In fact, those with diabetes are up to four times more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease and stroke. Similarly, diabetes is the leading cause of end stage renal disease (ESRD), where the kidneys shut down and a transplant is usually required.

Diabetes can also affect the eyes, ultimately leading to blindness. In fact, it is the number one cause of blindness in adults in the US. This damage is caused by a lack of oxygen. Diabetes can also cause leaking of blood vessels in the eyes, which leads to scarring and loss of vision.

Living with diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease, without a known cure. Unfortunately, cases of diabetes are also on the rise. Yet, in many instances (particularly in the case of Type 2 diabetes) the disease is preventable through healthy lifestyle choices. Even once contracted, it is possible to mitigate and manage the effects and symptoms. In some cases, symptoms can even be reversed. Weight loss, physical activity and a balanced diet may be all that is needed to stop the progress of the disease.

Everyone who has diabetes (whatever the type) is at increased risk of the health issues mentioned above. It is therefore never too early to take responsibility for your health, including taking aggressive preventive measures by changing your lifestyle.

The good news is that you have greater control over your health than you may think. It is empowering to know that you can make a difference by taking some proactive steps, such as  eating a healthy and balanced diet, managing your weight, taking regular exercise, reducing alcohol and sugar intake and stopping smoking.

Weight management

80% of people with diabetes are overweight or have abdominal obesity. If you are overweight or obese, fat deposits are making your body produce excess insulin in order to properly carry out bodily functions. Losing weight can therefore help to reduce the need for insulin and other diabetes medications, as well as it will lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk for heart disease.

For those with Type 2 diabetes, if they can eliminate the fat that is responsible for the imbalance of insulin in their bodies by exercising and limiting carbohydrates and alcohol, they may be able to drop their glucose levels (perhaps even into the normal range).

In one study, overweight adults who lost a modest amount of weight (even as little as 5 – 10% of initial body weight) and exercised regularly reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 58% percent.

Exercise

Physical activity can not only help to keep blood sugar levels low, but can assist your body to better use the insulin it produces to convert the food you eat into energy. Arguably one of the best types of exercise is cardiovascular activity.

While it may not be completely curable, these changes allow many people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in particular, to live a healthy and full life. People with type 2 diabetes who exercise regularly have been shown to lose weight and gain better control over their blood pressure, thereby reducing their risk for cardiovascular disease (a major complication of diabetes). Studies have also shown that people with Type 1 diabetes who regularly exercise reduce their need for insulin injections.

30 to 60 minutes of modest intensity exercise 3 – 4 times a week is a good start. Intensity should be increased gradually. However, of course everyone’s circumstances and health conditions differ, so if you have diabetes or a heart disease, it is important to consult your doctor before undertaking a new exercise regime. They can help you to determine the most appropriate level, type and frequency of exercise.

The bottom line

Your health is your responsibility, so take control now! Skip “fad diets” and make healthier choices. By excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, you may be giving up essential nutrients. Instead, think variety and moderation as part of an overall well-balanced diet and sensible exercise regime.

If you are uncertain what is best to eat to suit your condition and particular medical circumstances, you can always speak to a qualified health professional (such as a nutritionist or dietitian).

Many diabetics also find that health supplements can be beneficial. For example:

  • nutrients-fortified sugar-free meal shakes can provide a convenient and readily-available source of essential nutrients (such as fibre, vitamins and minerals) on a daily basis
  • high quality weight management products (derived from natural ingredients) can support their wider weight loss plan.

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Start losing weight

Get started with your weight loss programme today!

Let’s face it, no one is at their ideal weight all the time and more often than not, you could stand to lose a few pounds rather than putting some on. Luckily, this blog post will help out anyone who wishes to get started on a successful weight loss journey.

It will give you a good idea of what you need to do, so that your weight loss goals will be met and your efforts will be long-lasting.

Everyone at one point or another has made the decision to lose weight, but oftentimes the goals we set for ourselves are not met. Many people fail on their quest for a slimmer body for a variety of reasons. There are countless ways you weight loss programme could lose momentum, leaving you short of reaching your goals.

Before you can start on a successful weight loss campaign, you have to ask yourself a couple of questions.

1. What caused me to gain the weight?
Understand what it is that you did to put on the extra weight. Honestly assessing your lifestyle, activity levels and eating habits is imperative if you are serious about losing weight, because this will allow you to see what changes need to be made.

2. Am I ready, willing and able to make a change?
Losing weight sounds a lot easier than it is and if you aren’t fully committed to achieving your goals, you are setting yourself up for failure. Make sure that you are going to put in the time, effort and dedication needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is also important to ensure that you are physically able to tackle a weight loss programme (have you consulted your doctor?) and have the appropriate tools and resources at your disposal. For example, do you have a meal plan? Do you have an exercise plan? By preparing and informing yourself in advance, you will give yourself the best chance of success. It will also be more likely to lead to wholesale lifestyle change, rather than short-term efforts which then revert back to bad habits.

Once you have examined your current exercise and eating habits, and have made a conscious decision to commit to slimming down and getting healthy, you are ready to begin making changes to your life that will enable you to lose weight and keep it off!

Whether with the help of a personal trainer, dietitian or nutritionist, or through your own research, make notes of the nutrients you need to incorporate into your diet, as well as those items that need to be reduced or eliminated altogether. This is going to be different for each individual, so just make sure that you are incorporating a diet that you can tolerate or you will just end up giving up. Be strong, but also be realistic. And take it slowly. Drastic changes tend to be overwhelming, particularly where bad habits are ingrained.

You should also make exercise a real priority in your life. When hectic schedules reign and budgets are tight, gym sessions are often the first thing we are willing to cut out of lives. However, if going to the gym is really not an option, don’t make excuses – there are many other options out there to keep active that don’t cost the Earth. For instance, running outdoors, following YouTube exercise videos at home and even incorporating a greater level of activity into daily events (such as climbing the stairs, instead of taking the lift). Making time to workout, and building this into your weekly routine, is an extremely important part of living healthily, losing weight and keeping it off for the long-term. No matter what type of activity you wish to do, just make sure you do it. Making dietary changes alone is not enough.

Lastly, try to find a friend or family member who is willing to go on a weight loss journey with you. It is always easier to lose weight and get fit when you have a buddy who is struggling along with you. Together, you will be able to motivate each other to keep going when one or both of you needs a little encouragement.

Nothing in this blog is particularly new in terms of information for the average person, but you’d be surprised how many people start their weight loss programme without first taking these basic steps. Ensure that your efforts will pay off by using the tips given above to prepare yourself, and you are sure to lose that weight and keep it off!

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Best diet for weight loss

A healthy diet for long-term weight loss

Nourish your body, while shedding pounds!

So, you’ve made the decision to try to lose weight for good this time and you’re raring to go. But how are you going to make your weight loss stick this time? How are you going to change your eating habits and navigate those cravings for comfort foods?

Go raw and alkalise

Natural, nutritious and alkalising raw foods (like fruits, vegetables, green leafy plants, sprouted legumes and sea vegetables) are the answer.

The best-kept weight loss success secret is that you can reach your natural ideal weight without having to count calories or starve yourself.

By eating more raw food (packed with vitamins, minerals and other weight loss friendly nutrients that haven’t been destroyed by the heat of cooking), and fewer processed, nutrient-depleted foods (high in saturated fat, sugar, salt, artificial additives and preservatives), you can control your appetite, balance your blood sugar levels, avoid cravings and awaken a more vibrant, energised version of yourself!

Cleanse and detox

If your body is bearing a high toxic load as a result of years of poor diet and lifestyle choices (including smoking), it is wise to tackle this before attempting to lose weight healthily.

This is because a toxic body will often be suffering from underlying conditions that can hamper weight loss, including food sensitivities, poor nutrient absorption, hormone imbalances and a strained liver.

For centuries, health experts have been extolling the virtues of ‘spring cleaning’ the body.

If you follow a diet made up primarily of wholesome raw foods, eliminating refined and processed foods wherever possible, your body will begin to detox naturally in any case.

If eating the right food is one side of the weight loss ‘coin’, detoxification is the other. Lower your toxic load to the lowest level possible to provide a good foundation for losing weight naturally and healthily.

Enzyme advantage

One of the many advantages of eating raw and ‘living’ foods is their rich enzyme content.

In the human body, there are around 3000 enzymes, which are required to carry out a wide range of essential biological functions. They are involved in everything from digestion and healing, to hormones and metabolism – all of which can have an impact on your weight loss efforts.

We are actually born with a finite bank of these essential, life-giving proteins. If our diet is not packed with naturally enzyme-rich foods, we need to call on our body’s own limited reserves.

What’s more, enzymes are delicate – they are damaged or destroyed when exposed to heat.

A poor diet, lacking in enzyme-rich raw foods, therefore often means that, eventually, our body starts to overwork itself to produce these enzymes, diverting energy away from other important tasks such as, for instance, burning fat.

So there you have it – 3 quick and easy ways to frame a diet that naturally supports long-term weight loss success. And the basis for all 3 is a diet high in raw, enzyme-rich and plant-based foods.

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