Teenage Girls, Hormones and Stress

August 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Childrens Health, Natural Medicine

Teenagers and hormones are almost a joke – and certainly appear in enough tv sitcoms and magazine articles for us to take the state for granted – but could supplementing with natural hormones help teenage girls in particular?

Dr David Zava is the CEO of ZRT Labs and the co-author with Dr John Lee of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer and he has been involved for many years with analyzing and tracking the effect of natural hormones. A particular problem can be seen in teenage girls and came to his attention through a retired nurse who asked his advice.

She wanted to have more information on the use of progesterone cream to normalize cycles in teenagers as she had found that both her own daughters had benefited from using progesterone in the latter half of the cycle to normalize their cycles when they were stressed. The teens are like a pressure cooker and stress is endemic: whether over schoolwork, exams, appearance, peer pressure and so on and often can result in depression and hormone related migraines. She was curious as she found that such stress was often is responsive to rebalancing estrogen with progesterone but could find little literature or information on the subject so turned to an expert for his opinion.

Dr Zava confirmed her own research that there have been no double-blind, placebo controlled studies with thousands of subjects as this is expensive and as natural progesterone is not patentable there is no interest from pharmaceutical companies in funding trials. The trials that are done tend to be small scale and anecdotal, and there are numerous studies indirectly supporting its use. For instance in one trial for a small group of teens with PMS. Half were given progesterone cream for the last two weeks of the cycle, half on placebo, and there was indeed substantial improvement in the group taking the cream. One study showed that in the first year after starting to menstruate 80% of girls did not ovulate, meaning they did not make progesterone. Three years after their periods had started 50% did not ovulate, and by the sixth year 10% did not ovulate. That represents a lot of girls with premenstrual bloating, weight gain, mood swings, irritability and anxiety – all of which are symptoms of oestrogen dominane.

Unfortunately there is a considerable amount of oestrogen in the environment which means that teens and young adults are much more likely to be estrogen dominant – and accounts for the increasing number of teenage boys with ‘breasts’. In teenagers the adrenal glands can pick up some of the slack in progesterone production if it is not being produced in the right quantities by the ovaries, but in a stressed young adult the adrenals will be busy elsewhere.

The suggested therapeutic dose suggested by Dr Zava and doctors in the USA who specialize in treating teenagers is 15 to 20 mg of progesterone cream during the last week or ten days of the menstrual cycle can be enormously helpful. You can find more articles on hormone balance at www.bio-hormone-health.com and if you are interested in Dr Zava’s work you will find more on his website at www.zrtlab.com.

More on the Diet Front – herbal and emotional!

August could be the time when you are ready to lose a few pounds as you gaze lovingly at yourself in the mirror – more on that later – but first news of a herbal based diet much loved by models, actors and ballet dancers. Created by Dr. Pamukoff, who has been studying the active ingredients of plants for more than 65 years and one of the founders of the discipline of scientific phytotherap, which is another name for modern herbalism. He has devised SLIMPAM® which is a natural product made with rare grades of roses and herbs including liquorice, peppermint and dandelion.

He ought to know what he is doing as he has won many international awards and treated over half a million patients since first working with herbs in 1942. Consisting of a two part regime of capsules daily and herbal tea it is an effective slimming natural supplement that helps to regulate metabolism, digestion, constipation and the cardio-vascular system with long- lasting results.

This is not a diet plan based around food but on taking a tea and supplement that are based on natural herbal ingredients and award-winning research and most people are able to lose 4 to 7 of fat can be lost in 4 weeks in a natural way by following a healthy eating regime without exhausting diets or exercise.
Sounds like a dream scenario, but it starts in the engine room by cleansing the colon and this has an accumulating effect. One warning if you have never done a colon cleanse then it can have a sudden and dramatic effect on your visits to the loo, but if that occurs you can reduce the daily dose, but never exceed the maximum recommended. Dr Pamukoff says that on this plan you will see changes in your metabolism in week 3 and then significant weight loss in week 4

If you are after a faster weight loss then this is not for you as Dr. Pamukoff is in tune with contemporary thinking as after more than 30 years of research he has found that losing weight faster can be achieved but this is not advisable. Anyone who has been on a crash or very low calorie diet knows that when you lose weight too quickly your skin may not adapt to your new shape and it may end up being loose with wrinkles, so SLIMPAM® contains herbs rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins A, E and C to help maintain skin elasticity.

The ingredients come primarily from Bulgaria: the roses used are the same as used in Chanel No 5 and are apparently excellent for regulating the digestion and the herbs come from the same valley. The dandelions give excellent support for your metabolism and is rich in vitamins A, E, C, B1, B6 and B12. Another interesting ingredient is flax seeds which are one of the richest sources of omega fatty acids.

There are two variants – one for men and one for women – and his herbal combination has been effective and successful for more than 30 years. I tried it and found it had a good detox effect but at first was puzzled as to the instructions as they differ for odd and even days.

Days 1, 3, 5….29 before your evening meal you put 2 to 3 SLIMPAM® herbal sachets in a mug of boiling hot water and allow to steep for 30 minutes for maximum benefits, then squeeze the herbal sachets before drinking. Drink this before your meal together with 1 to 2 of the capsules.

Days 2, 4, 6 (even dates) in the morning on getting up you take 1 SLIMPAM® capsule.

I found 2-3 teabags too strong a taste for me and so only had 1 and I sweetened it with a little honey so I do wonder if the initial pack of 30 herbal teabags and 30 capsules would last as suggestedfor a month, as it must be less if take the maximum dose. As this is a full month programme, and you only see real weight loss in week four then I would have thought a bumper pack might be more sensible. However, it relieves you from any worries about counting calories as you eat normally, but sensibly.

If you would like to know more visit www.dr-pamukoff.com and as for that loving your body I mentioned earlier it seems from new research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity that if you improve your body image then you will enhance the effectiveness of weight loss programs based on diet and exercise.

Researchers enrolled overweight and obese women on a year-long weight loss program and half were put on weekly group sessions where issues such as exercise, emotional eating, improving body image and the recognition of, and how to overcome, personal barriers to weight loss and lapses from the diet were discussed. This group lost more weight than the control group and in particular were able to reduce their ‘comfort’ eating and maintain the weight loss. Researchers also saw a considerably reduced amount of anxiety about other peoples’ opinions, and positive changes in eating behavior in this group.

Diabetes Socks – Could They Work For You?

August 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Health

Another addition to the information last week on preventing and reducing the impact of diabetes is a product that can help with the poor circulation that often accompanies the condition and relieve swollen and painful feet. It could also help anyone who is struggling with heavy, tired legs which as the average person takes between 8,000 and 10,000 steps daily which mount up to an amazing 100,000 miles in their lifetime could mean all of us. Also if anyone accuses you of not exercising, try throwing those statistics at them and rejoice in the fact that help is at hand and in the everyday guise of a pair of socks!

Rx Incredisocks are for more than keeping your toes toasty, in this case they are very specifically designed and been proven to increase circulation quickly. This results in an increased blood flow and so gets a greater amount of oxygen to the tissues. You will notice two effects of this: inflammation is reduced, and secondly the oxygen gives the skin tone a healthier colour.

They are a one-of-a-kind medical design with a patented technology and have a thermo-regulating function through a unique infared-emmitting thread which provides the required increase/decrease in temperature in as little as five minutes. Startling technology in itself – and that is all important – but how comfortable are they? With a 200 thread count and their unique 3-D weave design they do provide incredible cushioning for your feet as well as keeping them absolutely dry. That is vital, because did you know that your feet contain about 250,000 sweat glands and release half a pint of moisture daily? Not sure where all that liquid is going, but I am now looking more suspiciously at the suede base of my summer sandals.

If that’s not enough, they also have a natural anti-microbial that kills the odour causing bacteria (smelly summer feet take note) and are made from bamboo charcoal that helps with foot fatigue by releasing negative ions into your body, ensuring your feet never tire.
Well that sounds like something to pack for my next salsa holiday, and as well as benefitting diabetics they have also proved a boon to those who are suffering from circulation problems in their legs.

To find a list of stockists of Incredisocks (diabetic or normal version) near you contact Steve at Vital Life on: 0207 7201441 or email him steve@vital-life.org.uk

Why Women On HRT Should Eat More Parsley and Celery

August 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Natural Medicine, Womens Health

A new study by the University of Missouri has found that a compound in parsley and other plant products can stop certain breast cancer tumor cells from multiplying and growing.

Why is this particularly relevant for women on HRT? Because of the well established research showing that certain synthetic hormones used in HRT (a progestin called medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) can accelerate breast tumor development. When tumor cells develop in the breast in response to MPA, they encourage new blood vessels to form within tumors and the blood vessels then supply needed the nutrients needed for the tumors to grow and multiply.

This study was published recently in Cancer Prevention Research and highlights the work of Salman Hyder, Professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center. This was not a human trial, but exposed rats with a certain type of breast cancer to apigenin, a common compound found in parsley and other plant products. The rats that were exposed to the apigenin developed fewer tumors and experienced significant delays in tumor formation compared to those rats that were not exposed to apigenin.

Hyder found that apigenin not only blocked new blood vessel formation, thereby delaying, and sometimes stopping, the development of the tumors but it also reduced the overall number of tumors. However, this is only an animal trial and while apigenin did delay tumor growth, it did not stop the initial formation of cancer cells within the breast.

If you want to be proactive around breast cancer risk, then there are some simple changes to your diet that can help.

So What Should You Eat?
Apigenin is most prevalent in parsley and celery, but can also be found in apples, oranges, nuts and other plant products. Because apigenin is not absorbed efficiently into the bloodstream at the present time scientists are unsure of how much can or should be taken as there are no specific dosage for humans yet. However, it appears that keeping a minimal level of apigenin in the bloodstream is important to delay the onset of breast cancer that progresses in response to progestins such as MPA so in which case crunch on some celery and start eating the parsley you have been decorating your dinner plates with!

Retraining Your Hunger Molecules Helps Lose Weight, Look Younger and Stay Healthy

August 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Diets, featured, Food & Nutrition, Health

Ori Hofmekler is not a name that trips lightly off the tongue, but he is the author of The Warrior Diet and The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, and an expert on how to improve your health with food. His latest advice focuses on the genes that regulate your biological age because they are highly sensitive to your diet, as they’re triggered or inhibited by what you eat, how much you eat, and how often.

One of the most detrimental causes of aging is excessive calorie intake and scientists speculate that we have an overly strong drive to eat when food is readily available – and that has never been more true than today. So you should restrict your calories? Well, no actually because of your individual makeup: you can be on a low calorie diet and fail to lose weight, and you can be on a high calorie diet and yet manage to slim down.

What you do need to do is control your hunger-satiety system which consists of multiple neuro-peptides that act to initiate or terminate your eating. These are your hunger-satiety hormones and their signals are integrated in your brain to modulate how you consume, spend or store energy. The balance between these signals dictates whether your body is in a fat-burning or a fat-storing mode. In order to maintain a healthy body weight, your hunger and satiety signals must continually adjust your food intake to your energy expenditure and any imbalance between these two will affect your fat stores and physical shape.

Your hunger and satiety hormones are constantly seeking precedence over each other and the consequences of that hormonal clash are manifested in your body. Hunger hormones tend to slow your metabolism and increase your body fat whereas satiety hormones tend to boost your metabolism and decrease your body fat. So what this means is that if your hunger hormones get out of control, you’ll be prone to suffer from a sluggish metabolism and excess body fat but if your satiety hormones take over, they will counteract the effects of your hunger hormones to allow you greater energy and a leaner healthier body.

Your hunger hormones are part of your ancient survival apparatus: they keep you alert and give you the drive to search for food along with the desire to achieve. And they balance the actions of your satiety hormones which tend to calm you down. But if you let your hunger hormones get out of control, you’ll experience chronic hunger, diminished energy, metabolic decline, decreased libido and increased tendency to gain weight.

How to manipulate your hunger hormones
You need to know how to manipulate both types of hormones to work for you, and you certainly need to keep your hunger hormones under control. Your hunger-satiety system can only function well as long as your diet is adequate. If your diet is high glycaemic and your feeding episodes are too frequent, your hunger-satiety system will be utterly disrupted.

Frequent consumption of high glycemic meals impairs your key satiety hormones insulin and leptin, leaving your hunger hormones unopposed and dominant. When insulin is impaired ghrelin levels remain elevated even after you have eaten and leads to chronic hunger (mostly for carbohydrates), excess food intake and undesirable weight gain. You need to know how to boost your satiety hormones and let them take control over your metabolism and it could not be simpler:

1. Eat satiety foods
2. Avoid hunger foods
3. Train your body to endure hunger

1 Eat Satiating Foods
This element is what the success of the Atkins and similar diets has been based on as the food that promotes satiety most is protein and the one with the fastest satiety impact is whey protein. Studies reveal that consumption of whey protein before meals can swiftly boost the satiety peptides CCK and GLP-1, which have been shown to decrease food intake and increase weight loss.

Other satiety-promoting foods are low glycemic plant foods including raw nuts, seeds, legumes, roots, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, eggplants, grasses and green leafy vegetables.

2 Avoid Hunger Foods
Stay away from high glycaemic foods including all refined carbohydrates, sugars, fructose products, baked goods, sweets and sugary beverages. Fructose in particular has shown to cause leptin resistance, lipid disorders, hypertension, obesity and diabetes. Studies reveal that the liver has a limited capacity to utilize it; so excess fructose is converted into triglycerides and body fat.

The worst combination is that of high sugar and high fat and it has been found that this can cause insulin and leptin resistance even before any change in body composition. You know the usual suspects: biscuits, cakes, ice creams and chocolates need to be removed or seriously restricted.

3 Train Your Body to Endure Hunger
Now this doesn’t sound so good, but hunger should be treated like physical exercise because both are perceived by your body as survival signals to adapt and improve. Allowing yourself to undergo repeated (temporary) hunger, such as in periodic fasting, allows your body to naturally adjust itself by decreasing the number of hunger receptors in your brain and thus making you increasingly resilient to hunger.

Take note that only real hunger can benefit you that way which is what you experience while fasting or undereating, not the kind of craving you can feel even after finishing a meal.
There are different ways to train your body to endure hunger: gradually increase the gap between your meals or alternatively put your body in an undereating state by minimizing your food intake during the day to small, low glycemic, fast assimilating protein meals such as quality whey (every 3-5 hours), which could be served with (or substituted with) small servings of fruits and vegetables and have your main meal at night.

For most of us, undereating is preferable to complete fasting because although it challenges your body in a similar way it allows you to nourish your body with protein and antioxidants, and you won’t feel the desire to eat as intensely as when you completely avoid food. Whichever you choose, it is important not to chronically restrict your calories as your hunger must be acute, not chronic. Treat yourself with sufficient food in your main evening meal to compensate for the energy and nutrients you spend during the day.

Diet Drinks Can Increase Your Waistline and Put Weight On

During the summer we naturally consume more drinks to help with dehydration, and diet drinks are certainly popular for both refreshment and in the mistaken belief they help you lose weight. I say mistaken advisedly as a new study has shown that diet drinks actually cause weight gain and blood sugar spikes.

These diet drinks are made with artificial sweeteners like aspartame and a landmark new study out of Texas confirms that not only do diet drinks not help with weight loss, but they actually cause both weight gain and health problems.

Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) at San Antonio gathered ten years worth of data on 474 participants from a larger, ongoing study called the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging. Among these participants, those that consumed two or more diet drinks a day experienced waist size increases that were a staggering six times greater than those who did not consume diet drinks.

Helen P. Hazuda, a study researcher and professor at the UTHSC School of Medicine presented the study results at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association. She reported that: “Data from this and other prospective studies suggest that the promotion of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised. They may be free of calories, but not of consequences.”

The findings debunk the false notion that switching to diet drinks will help you lose weight. What they do show is a 70 percent increase in waist size compared to those who do not drink them, so it is not clear how calling them ‘diet’ is applicable.

I have mentioned the health dangers of aspartame before, and a related study presented at the same time, found that this chemical sweetener commonly found in diet foods and drinks, is actually responsible for raising blood sugar levels.

This was an animal, not human study, but the results suggest that heavy aspartame exposure might potentially directly contribute to increased blood glucose levels. This could be a major contributory factor to the risk of diabetes, already a worldwide epidemic and growing.

A previous study had linked saccharin to weight gain and according to Dr. Marie Savard, medical contributor for ABC News, there is something about diet foods that changes your metabolic limit, your brain chemistry.The truth is, we’re putting artificial sweetener in so many different things: in water, in yogurt. We have to rethink what this artificial stuff does to us.”

This links to a previous 2010 study conducted by researchers from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases that found that the body’s reaction to the ingestion of artificial sweeteners appears to be brain confusion over how exactly to process it, which in and of itself is implicated in causing various other negative consequences.

Certainly it is true that US Food and Drug Administration have had adverse event reports going back several decades that indicate that artificial sweeteners like aspartame are also responsible for destroying brain neurons, which in turn leads to a host of chronic illnesses. These include, but are not limited to, chronic headaches, seizures, strokes, vascular disorders, heart disease, premature birth, dementia and other brain disorders, and cancer.

So if you want a fizzy refreshing drink then please steer clear of diet ones, and for a low calorie option try sparkling mineral water with a few drops of vanilla essence in it for sweetness and flavor.

West Highland White Terriers Could Help Your Health

July 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Health, Medical Research & Studies

Westies, as they are popularly known, are an attractive breed and got a media boost when featured in the Hamish Macbeth tv series, but it seems they may well be man’s best friend in more ways than one as they may hold the aswers to similar human diseases.

The Westie Foundation of America (WFA) has announced preliminary findings in two major studies involving the health of West Highland White Terriers and findings in these and studies of other dogs may hold answers for similar human conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

In one study, researchers are looking at the role of a mucosal gene driving inflammation Canine IBD, a chronic intestinal disorder that creates a bacterial-driven inflammation in the intestines. In the second, scientists are researching Legg-Calve Perthes Disease (LCPD), a debilitating developmental disease that causes pain, lameness and muscle atrophy of the dogs’ hip joints. Both are considering implications for humans since the diseases share commonalities in disease symptoms and pathology.

In IBD, genetic factors are thought to contribute to the cause of the disease in both dogs and humans and researchers are utilizing unique molecular biology tools to identify key genes which regulate intestinal inflammation, similar to human IBD.

Albert E. Jergens, DVM, PhD of Iowa State University is the study’s lead investigator and he explains: “It is our expectation to identify specific genes which serve as biomarkers for diagnosing canine IBD and for monitoring the effects of therapy. We have now identified a grouping of 17 ‘marker’ genes that may be more critically assessed in future studies. We have preliminary evidence that changes in the composition of the intestinal bacteria accompany the abnormal gene patterns…this situation is remarkably similar to the association between people and their intestinal populations causing human IBD (i.e., Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis).”

LCPD is an orthopedic disease that may require surgery to relieve the clinical signs and researchers are using technology to assess nearly 127,000 points in the dog genome. The goal of this project is to identify genes that contribute to the development of LCPD. Preliminary study findings show LCPD may be inherited in much the opposite way previous studies have shown. Earlier studies suggested LCPD is transmitted in an autosomal recessive pattern but the current data suggest it is inherited in either a dominant or complex fashion. The investigators currently have samples from 58 Westies, 23 of which have LCPD and more research is needed with the results of the candidate gene analysis to be published later this year.

Dogs are used in healthcare in other ways, as hospital visitors for instance where their presence is known to have a calming effect on patients and reduce their blood pressure but that they might help us get a cure for disease and hip disorders is certainly a step beyond that. If you have a Westie then perhaps an extra chew or toy as a thank you might be appropriate on behalf of his/her American relatives?

The Dietary Way to Avoid, or Reverse, Type 2 Diabetes

July 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Diets, Food & Nutrition, Health, Natural Medicine

It is estimated that by 2050 as much of thirty percent of the American population could suffer with diabetes and usually where they lead we in the UK do tend to follow. As new studies show that diabetics also have nearly double the risk of cancer compared to the rest of the population it seems only sensible to be proactive and diet is the first and simplest step on that road.

All of the following have been shown to help prevent diabetes so stock up your larder and add them to your regular shopping list:

• It may seem odd that a sweet substance is on the list, but maple syrup can protect against both diabetes and cancer and contains a newly identified substance called Quebecol, formed when the sap is boiled, and is full of antioxidants.

• Ayurvedic medicine has long suggested the use of spices that offer some protection against diabetes: turmeric, curcumin and fenugreek. All are found in Indian cooking so makek a weekly date with your favourite restaurant or take away.

• The link between obesity and diabetes has been challenged by a recent study involving the Yup’ik people of Alaska where 70% are classified as obese, but only 3.3% of them have diabetes. The key may be in consuming indicates that consuming the type of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as mackerel, salmon, lake trout, herring, tuna and salmon.

• A 2006 Italian study found that dark chocolate reduces the risk of insulin resistance, but the best comes from raw, unprocessed cocoa without any refined sugars added so minimal processing and maximum cocoa content is the key here with cocoa powder and baking chocolate containing the highest levels of the protective flavonoids.

• Coffee, in moderation, increases blood levels of testosterone and oestrogen. These hormones have long been thought to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

• Polyphenols, the natural chemicals found in red grape skin and red wine, help the body regulate glucose levels, preventing potentially dangerous plunges and surges in blood sugar levels – same advice as for chocolate – in moderation!

• Phytochemicals – naturally occurring antioxidants – found in blueberries, cranberries and strawberries can also reduce your risk of diabetes, with the added benefit of helping you lose belly fat, according to a 2009 University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study.

• Cherries are abundant in natural chemicals called anthocyanins, which increased insulin production in animal pancreatic cells by 50% in laboratory trials. Other sources include strawberries, red grapes and blueberries.

• Red and black beans can help regulate blood glucose and insulin levels so can help prevent diabetes, or minimize its effects if you are already diagnosed.

• Coconut oil has smaller, easily absorbed medium chain molecules that supply the cells with essential fatty acids without glucose and without inhibiting insulin production.

• Almonds and walnuts prevent diabetes by regulating blood glucose, particularly if eaten before a meal as that can help regulate blood sugar levels, and regular consumption did improve insulin levels in a 2009 study.

• Buckwheat helps control blood sugar levels and in an animal trial t heir glucose levels went down by twelve to nineteen percent. Easier to find as Japanese soba noodles in the supermarket.

• Cinnamon provides antioxidants and the powdered bark is also effective against diabetes. It improves blood sugar regulation by significantly increasing your glucose metabolism and has insulin-like effects in the body. Proanthocyanidin, a bioflavonoid found in cinnamon, changes the insulin-signalling activity of your fat cells.

• Tea: Green tea lowers blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics and reduces associated complications such as cataracts and cardiovascular disease Black tea contains polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that includes starch and cellulose, that may benefit people with diabetes by slowing glucose absorption. A Scottish study found that natural chemicals found in black tea may protect against diabetes by mimicking the effects of insulin in the body.

• Seaweed, in the form wakame, helps promote fat-burning protein and promotes the synthesis in the liver of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), a fatty acid also found in fish oil. It is also said to help prevent prostate cancer, support thyroid function, and assist in blocking the growth of breast cancer tumours.

Some of these changes are easy, others may be harder, but if you vary your diet and expand your culinary horizons you will definitely reap the benefit. Eating out from India to Japan and China won’t be too hard will it?

A Tastier Green Tea Option?

You know how fond I am of green tea for all its many health benefits – and if you are trying to lose weight then it is helpful in that area as well as taking care of your heart – but I know many of you don’t find it entirely palatable. Happily, there are ways around it from adding lemon and honey to finding a tea which has a taste you enjoy and I might have just the thing for you that comes from Vietnam.

If you have ever visited that country then you may have been given Vietnamese lotus tea – a type of green tea flavoured with the scent of the Lotus Flower. It is a specialty product of the Vietnamese tea industry and drunk as part of celebratory events or festivals as it seen as something rather special. The unique floral taste adds a whole new dimension to green tea and if you are fond of jasmine tea after a Chinese meal then it could hit just the right spot for you.

The traditional way to produce Lotus Tea involves using only the stamen of the Lotus flower and infusing it with green tea leaves and although there are several modern versions of the tea on the market now they are using flavourings or perfumes. For the authentic taste of Vietnamese lotus tea you need the actual ingredient, not a flavour, and that has become available in the UK for the first time from Natural Boutique.

They have a wide range of health giving teas, including an Artichoke tea which helps digestion and a rare and exotic Green and Java tea for aiding weight loss. If you can’t find Natural Boutique’s Vietnamese Lotus Tea in your local health store then visit the website at www.drinkherbaltea.co.uk.

Smoking Does Not Keep You Slim – But There Is a Male/Female Difference

July 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Health, Medical Research & Studies

There are many health myths that we hold as truth: the last biscuit on the plate contains no calories, my grandfather drank a bottle of whisky every day of his life and died at 101 so alcohol won’t harm me and perhaps the most common is that smoking helps keep you slim so giving up means becoming hugely overweight.

In one of my previous jobs I was Press Officer to Northern Ballet and bizarrely as it seemed to me most of the dancers smoked. You would think needing the best stamina and lung capacity would militate against it but, particularly for the girls, it was seen as an easy way to suppress appetite and control weight.

Now new research from the Nordic School of Public Health (NHV) in Sweden shows that smoking doesn’t help you get thinner, despite what we may believe. While cigarette smoking has decreased in western countries, obesity has increased and recent studies have suggested that today’s smokers may have less weight problems than non-smokers. Lisa Webb, Master of Public Health at NHV, set up a study in which over 6,000 people have participated in a study on the relationship between smoking and obesity.

They used two measure of body fat: BMI (body mass index) and WHR (waist hip ratio) and what surprised them was the definite difference between the results for men and women. Compared with non-smoker, both male and female smokers had a higher WHR but women had a lower BMI.

So if you are looking to use not giving up smoking because you don’t want to put on weight, then that is no longer viable. One other interesting finding was that the difference between the WHR among female smokers and women who had never smoked actually increased during the study. So if you want to improve your waist hip ratio then giving up smoking will definitely improve your chances of that.

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