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Archive for April, 2011

Are you shaped like an apple … or maybe a pear?

Huh?  Is this a serious question?

Yes it is. Some people have a pear-shape while others are apple-shaped. This is the case for both males and females. It may sound strange to compare body shapes to that of fruits but it is a fitting way to do so if you imagine the appearance of both an apple and a pear. The comparison in people is specifically related to the distribution of fat on the body.

Fat does not settle on the same place on everyone’s body. If you are a keen people watcher then you are probably well aware of that already! Apple-shaped individuals tend to accumulate fat in their midsections, which is to say the waistline and the abdomen. Pear-shaped people are more likely to have fat that develops lower on their frames.

In other words if you are a pear then your fat will be on your hips, thighs and buttocks.

Your genes are believed to play a significant role in what your body shape will be. Your age and gender are two other significant factors as well. For example, women tend to be more pear-shaped as they put on weight on their hips and buttocks whereas men are more like apples because they are more prone to put on weight in their stomach region. Following menopause the drop in the hormone estrogen can cause some women’s shapes to become more pear-like in nature.

The apple and pear-shaped analogies are not just meant to be interesting to contemplate. The analogy is done for a greater purpose.

Medical researchers have asked the question if body shape is in any way related to the health of the heart. Studies have shown that it is indeed. Those with an apple-shape and therefore more fat around the middle region of their bodies are more likely to become overweight or obese than their pear-shaped counterparts. This also matters to the heart because heart disease is more commonly seen in apple-shaped people.

Heart problems are more common in apples because of the region of the body where the fat is stored. In other words, closer to the heart as opposed to further away. This makes a difference.

Breast cancer and diabetes are also more likely to occur in apple-shaped folks. Apple-shaped females are more prone to depression and anxiety disorders, problems conceiving and irregularities in their menstrual cycles.

It is not all good news for the pear-shaped person however. Pears (who are predominantly women) are more likely to develop cellulite, osteoporosis, varicose veins and eating disorders. Women who are pear-shaped are more inclined to have lower self-esteem than are apple-shaped women because they view their bodies in a more self-conscious and negative manner. Menopause also tends to affect pears in a different manner than it does apples.

The fat that is stored in the waist and abdominal region of an apple-shaped individual is called intra-abdominal fat (IAF) or visceral fat.

This fat is actually stored deep inside the body and it surrounds a variety of bodily organs. Visceral fat can lead to inflammation and high blood sugar. Those who are pear-shaped and have fat lower on their frames have what is known as subcutaneous fat. This fat is more passive than visceral fat. It is stored as energy and in women is released when a woman gives birth or breastfeeds.

You cannot change your body shape but you can do your part to stay healthy. This means eating nutritiously and exercising on a regular basis.

Becca

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Endometriosis is a chronic disease that can cause a great deal of pain, bleeding and scarring for the woman who develops it.

This disease takes place when the tissue that lines the uterus (known as the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus and into the abdomen. In some women it may grow on the ovaries or in the fallopian tubes.

This disease affects in the range of eight to 15 percent of females. It is most commonly found in women in their early 20’s and those in their early 30’s. Endometriosis can make getting pregnant difficult. It can also increase a woman’s chances of developing certain types of cancers, such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer. If not treated and diagnosed in its early stages endometriosis can get worse over the passage of time.

Alternative Treatment Options:

Alternative therapies can be beneficial to those women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis.

Those who practice Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are of the belief that this disease is caused by the stagnation of qi (blood stasis), damp heat or dampness and phlegm combined. They are also of the mind that endometriosis may develop if the organs of the body are not as strong as they could be. Many TCM practitioners believe that a constant insufficiency in a combination of the body’s organs can lead to negative patterns that take place over a long stretch of time.

It is these negative patterns that they seek to eradicate with alternative treatments.

TCM is all about herbal treatments. The herbs that characterize TCM are often combined with the practice of acupuncture to regulate the progression of the disease as well as the rate at which the blood is stagnating. When these therapies join forces they can find the root of the problem and then can work from there to improve the health of the sufferer.

Aromatherapy has also shown promise for those women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis. Aromatherapy uses oils to heal the body.

The adhesions that take place as a result of this chronic disease can be reduced with the application of a selection of oils. The most beneficial ones for this purpose are chamomile, jasmine, lavender, neroli and rose. Not only are these oils healing in nature but they are also anti-spasmodic which means that they prevent and/or reduce the occurrence of muscle spasms.

Both of these significant properties of oils can make them very useful for muscles and tissues.

If you suffer from endometriosis then you may wish to see what the world of alternative medicine has to offer you. You do not have to abandon conventional treatments all together but can look to other more natural and holistic means to help your condition.

Samantha

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Minor cuts and burns can happen at any time and can happen for any number of reasons. Instead of reaching for antibiotic cream or burn salve to start the healing process there are plenty of natural remedies that can be used when you hurt yourself but it is not serious enough for a trip to the emergency room.

After all minor cuts and burns happen to everyone at some point in their lives. The important thing is to know how to deal with them quickly, safely and effectively. Wounds need your help to heal properly.

Cuts and other small wounds can benefit from the use of turmeric which is an antiseptic herb. You may already have turmeric in your kitchen as it is used in the preparation of many tasty dishes. Turmeric has a variety of anti-inflammatory and medicinal properties that can be used not only to help to heal cuts but also scrapes, scratches and bruises.

Aloe is an herb that is fantastic to have around if you cut or burn yourself. Whether you buy aloe gel or buy an aloe plant it can help to heal minor skin injuries.

Aloe or aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties as well as anti-bacterial properties. Aloe gel is a multi-purpose kind of herb that can also be used to relieve the sting of sunburn and mosquito bites as well. Please note that aloe can be purchased as a drink and is safe to ingest. However for the purposes described here applying it directly to the skin will offer the fastest results and the fastest route to healing.

Calendula is an herbal ingredient that is often added to natural hand creams or lotions. This herb has antiseptic properties that make it very useful in terms of treating minor cuts and burns. It also has astringent and anti-inflammatory properties that inhibit bleeding when you injure yourself and promote the growth of the new skin.

Comfrey is another herb that works well when you wound yourself in a minor fashion. This herb is beneficial for topical application in the event of abrasions, burns, cuts bruises and scrapes. If you get a small paper cut or your cat scratches you then reach for comfrey.

Comfrey is an herb that should never be taken orally. It is meant to be applied directly to the skin in a topical manner and that is it. Not only can comfrey speed up the process of healing of the skin but it has also been known to help with the healing of bones that are broken.

If you are at home or work and get a small wound then to encourage the healing process to get started try one of these herbs. The natural method of relieving and repairing the skin when a cut or burn has taken place is a safe and healthy way to get your skin back to its normal state.

Becca

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Once you understand what gluten is then you can decide for yourself if you should adopt the gluten-free lifestyle of if you should continue to  eat nutritiously and not concern yourself with whether or not you are eating foods that contain gluten or not.

How do you know what you should do? If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or if you have gluten sensitivity then the answer is simple – it is essential for your health and well-being that you give up gluten for good. However for those who have no problems with gluten and are just thinking of trying it as a means of eating healthier, it can turn out to be a huge pain in the neck.

Giving up gluten is not as simple or as basic as eating less pasta or deciding not to eat bagels or bread. Gluten is an ingredient that is found in a tremendous amount of foods. It makes many foods thicker, not to mention tastier. Gluten is not just found in bread products but also in seasonings, salad dressing and soy sauce. Giving up gluten can be a lot of work for the person who does not have any health problems with it.

Not only can it be a study in patience to give up gluten but it is can also lead to nutritional deficiencies which can open the door to serious health problems. Do not make the mistake of assuming that gluten-free is automatically healthy. In fact researchers say that you can end up missing out on many important nutrients such as the B vitamins, fiber and the mineral iron when you decide to do away with such things as vitamin-enriched products and whole grains.

If you decide to try gluten-free living then do not become preoccupied with foods that state that they are “gluten-free.” Instead focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, dairy and lean proteins. The best grains to choose for gluten-free individuals include amaranth and quinoa.

Could it Be You?

It has been theorized that more than 2.5 million individuals may be living with celiac disease yet of these only an estimated 150,000 have been diagnosed with it by their doctors. The reason for this is because it is easy to be asymptomatic for many years. The symptoms common to this disease can often be confused with the symptoms of other health problems which can explain why it takes so long for a proper diagnosis to be made.

If you suspect that you may suffer from celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity do not give up gluten until you have been checked out by a physician. If you stop eating gluten then it will be hard to tell by the tests if you have it or not.

According to the Celiac Sprue Association, a not-for-profit organization for those who suffer from the disease, there are hundreds of symptoms. However some symptoms are more common than others. These include abdominal pain and bloating, chronic diarrhea or constipation, anemia, fatigue, infertility and weight loss that is unexplained.

For those considering going gluten-free to lose weight you need to know that doing this will not help the pounds melt off any faster. If you do decide to continue on a gluten-free diet then don’t give up your taste buds and look for your favorite foods such as gluten-free pizza at your local restaurants or online recipes.

Gluten-free is not the same as fat-free by any means. Those who do lose weight when they choose to subscribe to a gluten-free diet are likely to do so because they have limited their food choices and therefore are not as inclined to overeat.

Samantha

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