July 19, 2011 [Volume 5, Issue 14]
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In this issue of To Your Health:
The Purple Pill Myth
In Shape For Life
You Are What You Drink

The Purple Pill Myth

The entire digestive process is orchestrated by good stomach acid. If there isn't enough, the gallbladder doesn't get triggered properly to function, and the pancreatic enzymes aren't released for proper digestion.

So, knowing the vital functions of stomach acid,  it seems absolutely insane to take antacids or proton-pump inhibitors such as that little purple pill, doesn't it?

How does the stomach acid get turned off? And what can be done about it? The main reason stomach acid gets turned off is from stress caused by high carb intake (high sugar levels are enormously stressful for the body), mental stress, physical stresses like excessive exercise, or physical stresses such as inflammation, infections, anemia or food intolerances.

Most people simply need supplementation of digestible betaine hydrochloride (HCI), for three to six months to restore proper acidity to the stomach and eliminate the symptoms they're having. Mucilaginous vegetables like okra are especially effective for that. The stomach lining heals quite quickly, so after 10 days of eating okra or taking okra pills, you can add in the betaine hydrochloride with each meal. Make sure that it's taken with or right after a meal.

Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for low stomach acid, but it's quite weak. It will help a little, but you might also consider supplementation, because if you are continuing to stress your body in whatever way that you do, the apple cider vinegar might not be enough, and considering how much we need good acid, it might be worthwhile to supplement.

It's not just a matter of fixing the problem once and thinking you're done. Pay attention to symptoms, and ask your doctor about betaine hydrochloride if you start having problems. Anytime you have a large meal, or when you travel, or in periods of high stress, you take it just as a precaution.

You will be amazed at how quickly those acid reflux, sour stomach, and gas problems will be resolved without having to take a lifetime of purple pills when you incorporate these simple, natural strategies. Ask your doctor for more information regarding digestive health.

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In Shape For Life

After the age of 40, we tend to lose about 0.5 to 2 percent of our muscle each year. If you aren't concerned about looking good, then also realize that this loss is a large factor in falls in older age, which can most often lead to fractures and even death. The good news is that there's an answer to helping fight this. Follow these steps and you will find yourself getting in shape for life:

Step 1: Don't sit too long

The first goal is to avoid sitting or resting for long periods of time. A study in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of a heart attack. The shocking fact is that this is independent on whether you smoke or exercise! It doesn't matter if you exercise or smoke. Sitting long periods still increase the risk.

Step 2: Start a Walking Program

Start with small steps. The best way to do this is get a simple pedometer. Those cost a few dollars and are well worth it. Stick to your regular routine for the first week and record how many steps you walk every day. Do this every week until you can get to a goal of 10,000 steps per day. This is the big goal so don't aim for it from the start. It's about aiming for smaller goals first and then reaching them.

Step 3: Start a stretching (warm up) program

Good news is that you don't need to spend as much time holding a stretched position as we previously thought. That's because we are often confused between stretching and warming up. Warming up is about moving body parts slowly and through a full range of motion until your muscles get warmed up. This is the best thing to do before you start any exercise program. Research has shown that static stretching, those positions that you hold for several seconds, can sometimes be responsible for increasing injuries, not decreasing them.

Step 4: Start a strengthening program

Researchers at University of Michigan Health System found that an adult can add 2.42 pounds of lean muscle and increase overall strength by 25 to 30 percent after 18 weeks of resistance training. This can occur well into the 80's and 90's so its never too late to start.

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You Are What You Drink

Not all calories are the same, especially when it comes to the calories you drink. Most people tend to revolve their diet plans around the foods they consume, often forgetting that what they drink on a daily basis is just as important. Countless drinks on the market tend to be very high in sugar content, which we all know eventually turns into fat, derailing our weight-loss goals.

Some drinks are also loaded with tons of calories that often can be just as high as an entire meal. Learning what drinks to watch out for and which ones to consume can make a big difference in your overall weight and health. Let's take a look at a few healthy options that can help you meet your long-term goals.

When it comes to finding the perfect drink to complement your healthy eating goals, the number-one thing you need is just five letters: water!

Water is a basic beverage that provides essential benefits like helping to digest your food properly and hydrating the body, but most importantly, it contains zero calories.

When considering beverages, it is essential to always read the nutrition facts just like you would with food. The first ingredient listed is the most common ingredient; the least common ingredient is listed last. Your drink should be mostly water or 100 percent juice, depending on the beverage. If you see sugar first on the label, watch out!

Other things to consider: Try to keep your sugar intake lower than American Heart Association's limits for added sugars: 100 calories (6 tsp) for women and 150 calories (9 tsp) for men per day. (These shouldn't be coming from beverages, since many of your foods contain sugars).

So this summer, satisfy your parched taste buds with water; and if you can't forgo your favorite sip (or more) of something less healthy, do it in small amounts! Small changes can equal big results! Drink well.

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